I’m Back!

Oh, hey there.

Remember me?

It’s been a while.

I’m not usually one to offer apologies when I’ve been gone (I know that’s annoying), but I figure an unannounced two-and-a-half month break deserves some sort of an explanation.

Honestly? I just needed a break. I’ve been blogging on an off for about 10 years now and it’s always been so much fun – it’s a creative outlet, it’s a great way to relax, and it’s awesome to have a time capsule of what I was doing at that point in time. But after we had Jackson our priorities shifted and I had a bit of a blogging identify crisis. This blog had always been about home decor – and we weren’t doing anything to our house anymore. I never intended to be a mommy blogger! I didn’t know what to write about! Suddenly, blogging became a chore and I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I needed to step away.

But now? I miss it. Dearly. I miss the community, I miss the fun of sitting down to write a post, and I miss looking back on the things I’ve written. It’s time to come back. And this time I’m not putting any restrictions on myself – I can be a mommy-blogger. Or a lifestyle blogger. Or a home decor blogger. Or just a brain-dump-write-whatever-I-want blogger. And that’s okay. This is for me. I love it. I miss it. I’m not ready to give it up. I may not blog on a regular schedule. It may be twice a week, may be once a week, may be even less than that. But I’m not stopping.

So.

Now that that’s out of the way.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Quite a bit has happened since the last time we chatted. Jackson is 10 months old now, and he gets a little cuter every day. Seriously. I don’t know how the kid does it.

Corey and I have been working like crazy – we’re in the same district this year which is amazing, but we’ve both got a lot on our plates. This has been my most challenging (and most rewarding) year of teaching yet. We work at home at least 2 or 3 evenings a week, which is unheard of to me (I’ve always been so good at keeping work and home separate!). We’re starting to finally find a balance, and things are settling down a bit, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

The Christmas season is in full swing around here – we decorated our house this weekend and are soaking up every second of our first Christmas as a family of three. I have a feeling it’ll be the best Christmas ever.

I’ve got a lot of little updates for you, so get ready! I’m going to update Jackson’s monthly posts (we’ve got a lot to catch up on!) and there are a few little things around the house to share (including our Christmas decor)!

What have you been up to? I’ve missed you!

Writing Process Blog Hop

I don’t always enjoy participating in these blog hop things, but when my friend Steph from Glitter & Goat Cheese tagged me a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued. I’ve seen several posts on this floating around the internet and I’ve found them all pretty interesting so I figured I would join in. It was fun to actually put some thought into sharing what my writing process is like, and I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone else’s!

Here we go!

1. What am I working on?

Right now I’m just working on getting back into the swing of blogging! I have been blogging on and off for probably close to 10 years now, and I’ve always loved to write…I took both AP English courses in high school (and got 5’s on both exams!) and wrote short stories like it was going out of style when I was a kid. Writing has always been a huge stress reliever for me – when I’m particularly worried about something, the only way I can get myself calm about it is if I sit down and write out everything I’m thinking and feeling. There’s just something about writing it all down that makes me feel so much better.

So, all that to say, I miss writing regularly! I’m finally finished with my graduate school courses, which has opened up a lot of free time, but this school year is going to be quite a doozy for me, so I need to get myself settled in and get things under control before I really have my life back. So right now my big focus is just finding time to write, and then actually doing it.

As far as our house goes, we aren’t currently working on things but that’s just because of a lack of time. We’re both dying to start putting our master bathroom back together, our living room needs baseboards, and I have a mini front-of-the-house makeover planned that I would like to tackle soon. So, the ideas and desire are all floating around in there, we just have to find the time to execute everything!

2. How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

Honestly, I don’t know if I’d say I have a “genre” anymore for this little blog. It used to be pretty much solely about home decor and renovations around the house, but since we had Jackson that’s fallen much lower on our priority list – so now, I blog about anything and everything going on in our lives and the blog has turned into a bit of a catch-all. So, I suppose I’d say that’s how I differ from other home decor bloggers – I don’t just talk about home decor anymore!

I think the entire idea of having specific niches for blogs is pretty tough, though. Our lives are constantly changing and shifting and what you’re interested in talking about (or reading about) right now may be totally different in a year or two. So, I feel like the idea of picking one thing to blog about and sticking to it may be too specific or set you up to run out of ideas…I always prefer reading blogs where I get to read a little bit of everything, and I always enjoy the little peeks into other people’s lives!

3. Why do I write what I do?

The main reason that I’ve continued to blog for all of these years is that the blog turns into this wonderful little time capsule where I can go back and read about what I was doing or thinking at specific times in my life. I still go back and read some of my old blogs from high school every once in a while (and no, I won’t tell you how to find them!) and it’s just so much fun to look back on everything.

Now that we have a baby, it’s become even more important for me to capture these memories and record them here. Some of it may only be interesting to me, but that’s okay because I genuinely do go back and read old things sometimes and it just makes me happy.

Beyond that, writing has always been how I get my creative fix on, and it’s very relaxing to me. There’s nothing better than settling in on the couch on a Saturday and knocking out a few posts!

4. How does my writing process work?

I don’t have nearly as much of a “process” as I used to when I was writing regularly. I do almost all of my writing on the weekends and I usually do it in chunks – I’ll write out several posts all at once and get them scheduled and ready to go. I used to keep an editorial calendar, which was hugely helpful in keeping me on track and making sure I always had stuff to write about, but as my full time job has become more demanding lately, that’s fallen off the radar. So right now, I just write about whatever is on my mind when the mood strikes, and when I’m not writing I’m pretty much constantly thinking of different things I would like to write about!

And that’s it! I’m not going to tag anyone specific, but would love to see your responses if you blog, or see anyone who has done one of these link up in the comments – I always love getting some insight into how and why other people write!

The Top 10

Every once in a while, I like to comb through some of my old posts…that’s one of the beautiful things about having a blog. It’s like a little diary of all the things we’ve done to our house, along with some little life updates along the way. It’s so fun to look back and see what we were doing a few years ago, and marvel over how much things have changed.

The other day when I was doing this, I realized that there are probably quite a few of you out there who haven’t been reading since the beginning of this blog (and if you have, a million points!) and I thought it might be fun to do a round up of some of the best posts of all time. A list of our greatest hits, if you will.

So, I grabbed the stats on the top ten posts since this blog started, and I figured I’d write ‘em all down and do a quick update on the projects. Sounds like a good time, yes?

Let’s dive right in.

10. Dining Room Inspiration

I imagine this post is in the top 10 because it’s the post that preceded our most popular project/post of all time, but we’ll get to that in a minute. It was fun to look back at the post and remember the horrible, horrible light that used to be in the dining room, as well as think about all the other options we went through before landing on our current fixture – it’s crazy to think our beloved dining room light was almost something different!

9. An Island Dream Comes True

I wrote this post right after we bought our kitchen island, and I have to say I’m not sure why it’s as popular as it is! We absolutely love our kitchen island, and it still lives in our kitchen and gets used on a daily basis, so I can definitely say this was a project that stood the test of time! We recently saw in Ikea that they’ve added some different versions of this island – they have one in black – and they’re gorgeous! We briefly wished that we had the black on instead, but ended up agreeing that white is probably till best for our kitchen. But man, that shiny black island sure is pretty!

8. More Form, Same Function

Oh my word, this is an old post. Corey actually wrote this post back when we tried to convince ourselves that he enjoyed writing enough to participate in writing blog posts! The pictures are awful and all taken in our old little duplex in College Station, but I stand by that project! That dresser is still in our house and we still use it under our television, though I have to say it looks much better in this house than it did in that one.

7. Enabling Our Dogs

Another old one! This little old bench has seen a lot of love in the years since we bought it…and it has definitely reached the end of its life. It is still in our bedroom for now, only because we haven’t bought anything to replace it and our dogs are still spoiled and need a bench at the foot of the bed. But, it’s looking very rough. It’s starting to fall apart, the fabric is horribly dirty and has holes in it, and it’s clashed with our bedroom decor for a while now. We’ll be saying goodbye to this bench just as soon as we buy a new one to replace it!

6. Summertime Staples: Sangria

Mmmm, I don’t blame you guys for loving this post. This is my favorite drink recipe in the history of ever. Seriously, it’s the best sangria I’ve ever had in my life. We’ve already made it several times this summer and I’m planning on grabbing the stuff for another batch the next time we’re at the store! All of my “summertime staples” recipes are pretty high on the list of popular posts, so I’m thinking I’ll have to write up another post or two about our favorites before the summer is up – we have a killer shrimp taco recipe that goes really well with this sangria…

5. DIY Black & Gold Globe

I love this project! It was something we got the idea for when we participated in Creating With the Stars, and we loved it so much that we decided to go for it after the contest was over. This guy is still in our living room, but to be honest I’m not sure how well it fits in. I’m not ready to get rid of it because I like it too much, and I’m on a “get rid of all the things” kick right now, particularly in that room, so I’m hoping I’ll get struck with a brilliant idea for what we can do with it. In the meantime, I still really love looking at it!

4. Creating With the Stars Week 4: Home Decor

Speaking of Creating With the Stars… It’s so fun to look back at this project and think about how different that room looks now – that’s Jackson’s nursery! We loved this project but, of course, a reading room wasn’t really practical for our house. We did this entire thing knowing that we would eventually be transitioning it into a nursery. Honestly we both thought we’d leave the wall color the same, but I’m glad we ended up changing it to the more neutral gray we have now. I’m pretty infatuated with how the room looks now, but we’d never have gotten here if it wasn’t for this project!

3. Home Sweet Home

I still love this project just as much as I did on the day I finished it. It still makes me smile every time I walk down our hallway, and it’s still one of the projects I’m the most proud of! I want to do a few other updates to our little hallway so this pretty guy isn’t all alone up there, but it’s still pretty low on the priority list. We’ll get there someday.

2. A Homemade Curtain Rod

The only project that is no longer in our house! We loved these curtain rods and they served us well for a few years! I do wish we had done a few things differently – I’ve seen tutorial where people made them sit out from the wall a bit so that you can actually close and open the curtains, and I wish we would have done that. I also wish we would have made the rod more easily removed – it was a pretty permanent structure so when we wanted to replace the curtains we had to take the whole shebang down…and that’s how we ended up replacing them. We wanted something that was a little nicer looking and easier to swap out, so we ended up buying new curtain rods for the living and dining room as we replaced the curtains…but I do love looking back at these guys!

And finally, our #1 viewed post of all time…

1. A Handmade Dining Room Light

The dining room light. The one that always makes people stop in their tracks when they visit our house and ask where we got it. The one that still makes me smile every single time I turn it on. The one I will be clinging to, screaming and crying on the day (many years in the future) when we move away from this house and have to leave it behind. I’m a big fan of this light. It is a huge statement piece in our dining room and makes the whole thing feel elegant and put together. I still get regular emails about this project and have had many people tell me they’ve attempted it themselves, which I love hearing! Definitely my favorite project we’ve ever done!

And with that, if you’re new around here you are officially caught up on the best of the best posts! It’s pretty clear you guys are big fans of project posts…and I’m a big fan of writing them. I sincerely miss having more project posts around these parts, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get back to it soon. We haven’t been putting hardly any money into the house lately, but Corey and I have both agreed that we miss it dearly and are hoping that within the next few months we’ll be able to loosen up the purse strings a bit. Our house is feeling neglected!

What kind of posts would you like to see more of around here? Any requests? Anyone else love going back and looking at old blog posts, or diaries if you don’t have a blog? I love reading what was on my mind all those years ago!

Well, hello there!

No, your eyes are not deceiving you – Love & Renovations has a new look!

I’ve been wanting to change things up and simplify the blog for a while now, but was too scared to tackle it myself. With the advice of a few friends and a lot of help from my BFF Google, I figured out how to do it and you’re seeing the results of my hard work today!

It’s still a work in progress, so you may see a few tweaks here and there over the next week or so. I have plans to re-vamp a lot of the pages and features to make it much easier to access and to add a lot more content, so be on the lookout for that!

Please let me know if you run into any issues or bugs while you’re browsing – I’m learning as I go, here!

Everyday Eclectic

I’m just popping in on this Friday morning (oh my goodness – it’s FRIDAY!) to let you guys know that I had the opportunity to set up a curated sale for Arcadian Home and it’s officially live!

It’s a fantastic home decor website that has some really amazing options, and I had an absolute blast putting it all together.  I tried to get a good amount of options and I didn’t choose anything that I wouldn’t put in my own home, so I hope you enjoy! Check it out and see if there’s anything you can’t live without…there are a few things I’m dyyyying to order!

Have a happy weekend – anyone have any fun plans?

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