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!

New Favorite Games

A few months ago I started talking about some of the board games that Corey and I like to play. Our friends got us into tabletop gaming earlier this year and we are completely and totally hooked. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Corey sold everything in our house that he could get his hands on this summer (that we no longer needed, of course) to buy more games. He has been spending all of his personal money for the last few months on new games for us, and we’ve quickly amassed quite the collection…

Yeah. We have a problem. So, since we’ve got so many new ones and there are quite a few of you out there who are fellow gamers, I thought I’d share my new favorites.

 

Rampage

 

This game is completely silly, totally ridiculous, and a blast. It’s based on the old arcade game, and you’re playing monsters who are trying to destroy a city. You get to actually interact with the board by dropping your monster to destroy buildings, throwing cars at buildings, and eating the little people in the town. It’s so much fun to play and it’s unlike any other game I’ve ever played before!

Lords of Waterdeep

This is one that I shied away from at first because it looks so nerdy (and is part of the “Dungeons and Dragons” world, which upgrades the nerd factor by 7 million) but it’s such a fantastic game. It’s a worker placement game, meaning you have a few different “people” at your disposal and you can place them around the board to accomplish different things. It’s quick to learn and so much fun to play. We love that this one works well for just the two of us but is also really fun with a crowd – we’ve bought one of the expansions so we can play with 6 people, and it’s great playing with everyone!

Takenoko

This game is pretty adorable, and also a ton of fun. It’s great for two players but also works for up to four…and it’s a great game for when you have younger kids playing – we haven’t had the chance to play this one with my nieces yet, but they’re dying to try it! In this game, you and the other players are both controlling a panda and a gardener in a bamboo garden, and you score different points for completing goals (for example, the panda wants to eat certain colors of bamboo while the gardener wants to grow them). It’s pretty simple to learn and it’s a fun, light game…and I can’t get over how dang cute it is!

Mr. Jack Pocket

This game is a very quick two-player only game. It’s a puzzle game where you are trying to strategize more efficiently than the other person, and it can be HARD! Corey and I like this one for when we’re in the mood for something fast, and it is one that makes us think! We hear the full version of the game is a lot of fun too, so we may have to get that eventually as well!

The Resistance

This one is a party game, and is perfect for a big crowd of people – up to 10 can play! We played this recently with my entire family and we laughed so hard. The idea of this game is that the entire group is playing as a group of people forming an uprising and they’re going on missions to overthrow a corrupt government…but there are spies in the group who are trying to sabotage the efforts. It’s really fun to accuse each other of being spies (and to try and hide it if you are one!) and it’s another one that’s very easy to teach. It’s hard to find games that are good for a lot of people, so we love having ones like this as an option!

We’re still playing and buying new games regularly around here (we just recently tried Survive and loved that, and we’ve gotten into some heftier games like Twilight Struggle and Nations as well), and just about anytime anyone comes over to hang out we rope them into playing with us. Our plan is to convert all of our friends and family to being as obsessed as we are (or, you know, close)! With how many games we’ve been getting these days, I have a feeling we’ll need another bookshelf soon!

What games have you been playing lately? We’re particularly looking for some good family games that  can be played with a lot of people (when my family comes over, there are 8 of us!). I love getting your suggestions – we bought Dominion thanks to you guys last time I posted about this, and we LOVE it!

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!

Brain Dump

Well, hi there! Have you noticed the radio silence around here lately? I sure have… my free time lately has been completely consumed by graduate school and I’m getting sick of it. I’m currently 3/4 of the way through my last class of graduate school (as in, ever…I graduate next month!) and it’s kicking my butt. I think I’m finally over the hump of the hardest assignments and am starting to wrap things up so hopefully I’ll have a little more time for blogging soon.

Since my mind is completely bogged down with writing papers, turning projects in, and reading research articles, I figured I’d do a quick drive-by post today with a few things we’ve been up to lately…and issue a promise that I’ll have actual content up soon. We’ve actually done a little bit more work around the house!

The first thing I want to tell you about is the new chairs we got in the dining room. I don’t want to spoil anything because I want to do a more thorough post on them later, but I’m in l-o-v-e with them. We finally gave up on the head chairs that we’ve been talking about reupholstering for like two and a half years now (do you remember those? no? that’s because it’s been over a year since I’ve even mentioned them…) and got these instead – and I’m thrilled with the decision! More on them later, just know they’re awesome.

We had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend – had some pool time, had friends over, did lots of relaxing, and just enjoyed our time together. So basically, it was like every other day we’ve had so far this summer. Perfection!

Jackson is officially starting to actually eat some of the food we put in front of him (mostly just avocado as of now, but he had a few bites of squash and sucked on some toast the other day) and it’s so fun to watch him start to explore it. We’re doing baby-led weaning and we’re taking it very slow, since he isn’t quite six months yet. We’re mostly just letting him play around and try a few different things at this point, but I have a feeling that within the next couple of weeks he’ll be ready to start eating more – he ate a whole slice of avocado last night at dinner!

I’ve had a lot of questions about Jackson’s high chair – it’s the Blames high chair from Ikea and we also bought the Pyttig support pillow, since he’s still a bit small for the high chair on his own. We love both of them and have been very happy so far. The high chair is very easy to keep clean and actually looks great at our table – some reviews I’ve read complain that it sits kind of low, but it’s perfectly level with our table, which we love because it feels like he’s really participating at meal time. The support pillow has been fantastic to help him feel more secure in the chair, and we’ve even brought it with us to restaurants a few times so he can sit in the big high chairs there too – we’re thinking about getting another one to keep in the car! I’d highly recommend both of them for anyone looking for a high chair.

(Just because I can’t resist a couple more cute photos)

And that’s our update as of right now. I’ll be back soon (hopefully later this week!) with a real post, promise!

How was your holiday weekend? Anyone do anything exciting?

Our Summer So Far…

Y’all, summer is the best. Ever.

I feel like this is the first summer Corey and I have really been able to enjoy together as adults – last summer (the first year we were both teachers), I was pregnant and sick most of the time. The whole summer was a blur because we were so caught up in the newness of me being pregnant, and I spent the vast majority of my time sleeping or laying around on the couch. This summer, though, we are both home with no obligations (other than one last graduate school course that I’m finishing up) and we are enjoying it as much as we possibly can.

I said in our summer bucket list that I wanted us to have at least one fun outing every week, and we’ve stuck to that so far. I’ve been really good about taking photos of what we’ve been doing (another one of my summer resolutions!) so I figured I’d share a quick roundup of what we’ve done so far.

Week One

We kicked off the first week of summer with some serious nap training for Jackson, so we tried to stick pretty close to the house for the most part. We’re the type of people that need to get out of the house frequently, so we went somewhere most days but it was usually just a quick trip to Target or the grocery store. We did, however, manage to squeeze in a couple of fun outings.

We took a long walk to the local park one day and let Jackson sit in his stroller without the carseat for the first time ever. He loved it. He was talking and cooing almost the whole time, and he didn’t get fussy once on the entire 45-minute walk. I think we’re going to try to make this a regular outing for us, because it was fantastic.

We also spent one afternoon at my sister’s house playing in their inflatable splash pad. It was Jackson’s first non-bath experience with water, and he was fascinated. It took him a little while to warm up to it – for the first fifteen minutes or so he was just sitting there staring at the water, trying to figure out what was going on. But once he got the hang of it, he was all about it. He kept trying to lunge away from me and crawl across the pool area (he can’t crawl yet, so that didn’t work out too well for him…) and he loved just hanging out in the water. We spent forever playing around with the water that afternoon, and I can’t wait to do it again with him!

Week Two

The second week of summer (last week) we headed up to San Marcos to meet my best friend and her family for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant. They used to live in Fort Worth, which is about a 4 hour drive from us, but her husband is in med school and just started his residency in San Antonio, so they’re only two hours away…and San Marcos is a perfect halfway point for us to meet up! She has a daughter that was born exactly six weeks after Jackson, and it was our first time meeting each other’s kids. It was a blast and I can’t wait to start meeting up more often with them!

Week Three

This week is a bit crazy for us because I’m at a conference for work today, tomorrow, and Friday…so things have been busy! We spent most of Monday doing work stuff – Corey had an interview and I worked on moving stuff to my new classroom (I’m moving to a new school within my district this year). I’m still hoping we’ll be able to squeeze in an “official” fun outing this week, but we’ll see how things go! If nothing else, we’ve been doing a good job of going on lots of walks and spending some extra time outside!

What have you been up to so far this summer?