Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Living Room Makeover

Hubby had a week of vacation this past week, so we spent it doing something crazy: totally rearranging our living room. ;)

It was supposed to be a simple matter of swapping the places of a few pieces of furniture, but it turned into a major decluttering/reorganizing/getting rid of operation that resulted in a fun, open new look.

Which is why I haven't been blogging. It was a huge project, and I wanted to use all the time I could with Hubby while he was off. We had a lot of fun, though, and it was great to have him around a little more than usual. :)

(For those of you interested in what my living room used to look like, you can see a few pictures in this post, but you'll have to scroll down through a few other pictures first.)

Here are some pictures of what our living room looked like throughout the course of the week:

And here's what it looks like now:

I love how much simpler and open it looks. I think my favorite part of the changes is my new work station: 

I get to sit by the window and look up at my fan mail, my awesome 25th Anniversary Beauty and the Beast calendar, and my character sheet. :) 

I have a fun little shelf with all of my art supplies and some of my collectible toys.

And I've got another shelf with more art supplies, writing materials, and doll repair supplies.

Unfortunately, tonight we had to bring several boxes and totes back into the living room (since they were stacked on our bed and we needed a place to sleep). ;) My goal over the next week is to continue going through things. I'd love to make the whole house a little simpler and a little more organized. I'm tired of feeling overwhelmed by stuff. Except for my toys. I never get tired of those. ;) 

Seriously, though, I'm trying to take an objective look at my collections and continue to thin things out a bit. I've already done some downsizing over the past few months, but there's still more to do. I feel like I have so much right now, I can't fully enjoy everything.

Of course, I'll never be a minimalist. When I get to my "bare minimum," it will probably still look like too much to a lot of people. But that's okay. I just have to worry about what works for me and my family. ;)

I'm sorry to keep you waiting on the earlier promised posts, plus my report on our writers retreat. When Hubby is back to work next week, I'll spend a little more time blogging. For this week, it was fun having a shared project and spending time together. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful new week when we start the month of NOVEMBER. (Seriously? Already?) I'll be back with more bloggy fun soon. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stop the World...I Want to Get Off!

This week has truly been a ride through crazy town. Between project deadlines, practices for the girls, late nights, and trying to get enough playtime in with Teddy so he sleeps well, I feel like I've been running in all directions.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll head up to the mountains for another mini writing retreat with my writing buddies Sarah and Rosemary. While the preparations for getting away feel a bit overwhelming right now, I'm looking forward to a few days of nothing but writing, brainstorming, eating, and visiting. ;) I'll be sure to take some photos and let you know how it goes.

I have a couple of posts still in the works, but haven't had enough time to get them all polished and ready for you. So here are a couple of preview pictures to show you what you have to look forward to in the coming weeks:

And some puppy spam, just because Teddy's so cute and photogenic:

Talk to all of you again soon!

P.S. Sorry I never responded to comments on Teddy's post! I'll try to get to that next week. :}

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ladies Retreat 2016

As you all know, at the end of September I had the opportunity to go to my church's Ladies Retreat. This year, it was held in Eureka, California, our annual vacation spot. I was so excited to connect with ladies from our church and other churches, and to visit my favorite beaches once again. :)

I brought Little M, my plushie unicorn, as my traveling companion this time. Mom R, Mimi, Patti (our pastor's wife) and I all rode over together and had a great time together. The time flew by as we chatted and laughed. :)

We stopped for lunch at Tops in Weaverville. :)

We got to stay at the Bayshore Inn in Eureka while we were there. I shared this beautiful room with Patti. 

Little M approves of the bed. ;)

The other side of the room.

The awesome spa tub that we never used. ;) 

Our bathroom.

We had a lovely view from our big sliding glass door. The balcony was pretty funny, though. It was barely wide enough to stand on.

The view below:

Little M above the koi pond.

The pond was beautiful, but the koi fish were ginormous and kind of creepy looking. :}

Our retreat took place at one of the local churches. We gathered for meals, singing, and uplifting messages from our special speaker.

Little M at our table:

One of our other yummy meals. The ladies changed the tablecloths and table decor between each meal.

One of the things we were looking forward to the most was introducing Patti to two of our favorite beaches, since she'd never been to Eureka before.

Our first stop was beautiful Moonstone Beach. :) The sky was cloudy and overcast (my favorite type of beach day). ;)

While we were on the beach, we wanted to get as close to a group picture as we could, so each of us took turns taking pictures of the other three in our group. Then another beach visitor kindly offered to take a picture of all of us together. 

And a close-up. :)

One of the reasons I love Moonstone Beach so much is that it holds a very important story location from my book! :)

This cave plays a crucial role in book two. ;)

I had a lot of fun taking pics of Little M on the beach:

Me and Patti :)

After the beach, we headed over to another of our traditional stops, "WindanSea," or as my girls call it, the shell store. ;)

Little M enjoyed exploring the shells for sale inside:

Once we'd finished at WindanSea, we headed to Trinidad Beach.

By this time, the sky was a brilliant blue, and we got some stunning pictures:

My pretty ring from WindanSea.

Mom exploring the beach.

I love this picture I got of Patti and Mimi! :)

We had a wonderful time on both beaches. I'm so glad we got to share these special places with Patti. And it gave me another great shot of inspiration for my writing. :)

Little M during our last session of Ladies Retreat Saturday morning.

When the retreat was over and we'd checked out, we stopped by the Bayshore Mall, and then headed to Old Town Eureka to check out a few of the shops.

Little M outside the mall...

...and Booklegger.

The pretty gazebo.

Patti and I wanted to get a picture together this day because we were twinzies! ;) We found these matching shirts at Kohl's a few days before we left.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a little market for a bathroom break and a snack. I have to admit, this dark chocolate was a little too bitter for my taste, even though it's supposedly better for me than my preferred Ghiradelli "Sea Salt Soiree" bar I love. ;)

We had to stop for construction a few times on the way home, but at least the scenery was nice! :)

All in all, we had a wonderful trip and made lots of wonderful memories. It's been so much fun getting to know Patti over the past year. I've always been in a church where my pastor's wife was older than me, a mentor and teacher. While she grew to be a friend as well as I grew older, it's entirely different to have a pastor's wife just my age going through the same stage of life I'm going through. Patti has three girls, just like me, got married the same year I did, and takes my gym class with me, so we have a lot to talk about. ;) I'm so very thankful for her friendship. It was great to share this trip with her, Mom, and Mimi. :)

Hope you guys are doing well! More posts to come as I have time. :)