Monday, November 29, 2010


With Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas coming quickly, I've been thinking about the things I'm thankful for. Sure we all think about those things on Thanksgiving, but how often do we take time to acknowledge the good stuff on a regular day?

Off and on in the last few years I've written daily gratitudes in my journal- just listing a few things that I was thankful for each day. It helps me focus on the good instead of dwelling on the hard. It's a practice I've fallen out of lately and it feels like it's time to bring it back.

As I blog here, you may see me add a "Thankful" section in my posts to encourage me to give thanks for blessings big and small.

To kick things off, today I am thankful for the "love ya's" and "miss you's" and "love and friendship" that my friends use to close their email messages. I am thankful for the kicks and movements and wiggles that my baby does which let me know he's okay in these final months of pregnancy. I am thankful for Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project, which I took way too long to buy, but from which I am gaining so many ideas on the simple things I can do to increase my own happiness and that of those around me.

In Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, Amy Krouse Rosenthal includes an entry called "Thankful" that includes some conventional and not-so-conventional gratitudes:

I'm thankful for my health, my childhood, and spell-check. I'm thankful for our new hot water tank and how we no longer have to coordinate our dishwashing with our bathing. I'm thankful for the wide range of flavors potato chips come in--mesquite barbecue in particular.

What are you thankful for today?

Redecorating, Big and Small

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was rearrange my room. Every time I got bored with status quo, I'd move my furniture around to give the same old stuff a fresh look.

That hasn't stopped. My husband and I usually complete one or two projects per year around the house. Earlier this year we redid our family room by pulling up carpet, laying hardwood, and swapping our living room couch for the leather sectional that was in our basement.

This summer my husband decided he wanted to try growing grapes, which turned into his desire for an arbor for them to grow on. Thanks to his "go big or go home" philosophy he built a huge (as in HUGE- like the size of a large room) arbor in our backyard complete with solar light caps on the top.

With the baby due in just two short months, we're trying to plan the nursery despite the fact that my in-laws still occupy that room. Hopefully they'll be moving on soon, but in the meantime we have a crib in the dining room waiting to be moved upstairs and assembled. In our upstairs hall, we have an old rocking chair, some hand-me-down clothes, and a few other items collected from around the house. And our office holds the baby shower gifts from our loving friends and family.

One thing we still needed was a dresser/changing table. We also had been looking for more grown-up furniture for our 13-year-old who is quickly outgrowing his bunkbed and child-size dresser. These were the challenges we undertook this weekend and I'm happy to say that in one long (read lots of walking, note-taking, backtracking, stopping for food, more walking, hauling, etc.) trip to IKEA, we accomplished it all plus some other nagging little decorating tasks.

The baby's dresser (to double as a changing table) is now, well, still sitting in the minivan in boxes because we have nowhere to put it yet.

My stepson's bunkbed and dresser are now in our dining room awaiting a buyer, while his room is now furnished with a full-size bed, a desk, and a proper size dresser that actually holds his clothes.

We also found new beige linen curtains to replace the heavy, brown velvet ones that were in our living room. Between the dark floor and dark furniture, the dark curtains made the room feel like a cave. Now it's light and inviting and it only cost us $30. Completely worth it.

Even though some of the house is still in disarray, some of the house is feeling new and fresh. There is a new energy wafting through our home and I love it.

On a somewhat related note, if you are looking for pretty ways to get organized or if you want to holiday shop for the amazing women in your life, check out the totes, purses, bags, baskets, and such on my Thirty-One site. If you place your order before November runs out (meaning today or tomorrow), you can get a free zipper pouch for every $31 you spend. Add item 3045 to your cart last and choose from one of these prints: Peacock Paisley, Paparazzi Dot, Boho Patchwork Paisley, Onyx Medallion, Floral Fanfare.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Photo Shoot Fun

When it comes to photography, often my favorite shots are the unexpected ones that present themselves when you're not expecting it.

Yesterday I decided to photograph my Thirty-One bags to share with people who are geographically distant from me as I launch this new business.

I had some time and the sun was casting a bright glow in my home office, so I found a cream colored sheet and make-shifted a photo studio. I played around with various items and groupings and soon I was on a roll getting nice shots like these...

[caption id="attachment_1421" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cinch Sac"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1422" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Demi Purse and Silk Scarf"][/caption]

Not too shabby. So off I went photographing different bags, blankets, purses, and totes and then this happened...

[caption id="attachment_1423" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Romeo pouncing next to Thermal Totes"][/caption]

That is Romeo. He is pouncing on something. Or nothing. He's a cat. He does that kind of thing. And he's not ashamed about it. I think he rather liked the spotlight.

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Romeo still sitting with the thermal totes"][/caption]

He soon moved along and I returned to my photo shoot. And then this happened...

[caption id="attachment_1425" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My hubby taking his turn in the spotlight"][/caption]

Oh dear.

[caption id="attachment_1426" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My hubby... still enjoying his turn in the spotlight"][/caption]

You don't fight these things. You just keep snapping pictures. Even when the cat returns again. Photographic gems often turn up when you least expect them.

[caption id="attachment_1427" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Romeo"][/caption]

In the end I managed to complete my photo shoot and put together this collage...

Not to mention I got some great shots of my husband and feline friend. All in a day's work.

You can check out my Thirty-One business here: Shop online or contact me to find out how to host an online catalog party and earn free stuff and discounts.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wishcasting: Enjoy

Wishcasting badgeIn today's Wishcasting Wednesday question, Jamie asks "What do you wish to enjoy?"

I wish to enjoy life. To find the joy in any given moment. To enjoy time spent with my family and friends. To notice the beauty in my surroundings. To take pride in what I am doing, even if today I am doing laundry.

Life is not just the spectacular moments or the tragic moments, rather it is all moments. I wish to enjoy life's moments, big and small.