Today I’ll be hanging out with my sister. Not in real land, just in blog land. I am doing a guest post over at Nesting Place to share my kitchen island makeover. We have lived in our new old house for over nine months now and I’ve yet to show you the final product of the painted kitchen cabinets. Come back here tomorrow and I’ll tell you why. Until then, fly on over and say hi to The Nester! And while you’re there, remember…
The Nester is doing a series featuring simple things you can do in your home right now to make it a little more inviting. Her tips require only 10 minutes and no money so I have no excuse. Here’s mine:
I walked upstairs this afternoon to get something from our bedroom and my first reaction was ugh get me out of here. This room is a wreck. But then I remembered her simple tips: Turn on the lamps. Make the bed. Remove the clutter. Add pretty pillows.
Ahh, yes. So much better. Not rocket science. But here’s the secret: you have to actually do it. I felt so much better afterward. Of course, it only took my kids 10 seconds to make my room more inviting:
At least the base is set. Thanks Nester. To see more simple room transformations or to add one of your own, go here. To see the intro to the series, simply click on the button below that is so cute I had to use twice.
Since I’ve returned from BlissDom, I’ve been processing a lot of information that was shared, proof that we really did do more than eat, take photos, type on laptops and wear cute shoes. I am still wading through the facts and my opinions about branding, marketing, monetizing and social networking. But I am mainly thinking about blogging as a writer.
Last year, I attended the She Speaks conference held by Proverbs 31 ministry to equip writers, speakers and women in church leadership. I attended the sessions on writing and learned a lot while I was there. I also attended the two sessions available about writing on a blog. Because of heightened interest in those sessions, P31 decided to expand the blogging aspect of the conference this year to include an entire track dedicated to blogging.
photo from Blogging Q&A session during She Speaks 2008.
Guess who is co-leading two of those sessions?
*chirping stops abruptly*
*panic-stricken crickets stunned into silence*
You guessed right. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?! Last year I was glued to the edge of the wall near the exit during the bloggers mingle thing because I was nearing hyperventilation and didn’t know a single dingle soul. And this year I’m supposed to SPEAK?! Using my…voice? I did the writers track for a REASON, people.
If I wasn’t so excited about the topics, I don’t think I could do this. But it will be worth it. Defining and Refining the Purpose of Your Blog is the session I’m doing with my sister The Nester. And Bloggy Photography 101 will be with Dawn of My Home Sweet Home which I’m not nearly as nervous about because Dawn is a real, bonafide grown up and I’m following her lead.
Not that my sister isn’t a grown up. Its just that sometimes when we’re together, we get the giggles. And then I start snorting and she has to sit with her legs crossed to keep from peeing and it is just generally not very inclusive or attractive. Or appropriate to do in front of an audience. At a conference. Where people have paid real money to attend. And learn something.
I am excited, nervous and apparently all shades of crazy. Not to mention eyebrowless, according to this photo. But I look forward to this summer for the opportunity to step into the unknown, as much as I hate everything about the unknown. It seems a long way off now, but registration is open so if you are thinking about coming, I would encourage you to sign up soon-like. The conference will be held in Charlotte, NC from July 31 – August 2. Now seriously, where are my eyebrows?
click here for the conference website
I am back and I am blessed. Not only did I get to spend time with my sister this weekend in Nashville, but I was given many beautiful and unexpected gifts in the form of conversations with women who blog.
These are my blurry roommates. They aren’t blurry in real life. In real life, they are all kinds of beautiful. My sister, The Nester is to the right of me with her hair and her beads and her unassuming ways. She is fabulous, but you already knew that. Next to her is Sandy of 4 Reluctant Entertainers who I want to be when I grow up. Finally on the far right is Melissa of The Inspired Room. She and The Nester shared the story of their blogs in the final session of the day. Listening to them was both encouraging and inspiring. All three of these women write about living simply and embracing a balanced, imperfect life.
There was a lot of this happening, as you can imagine. From the left, this is Melissa, Tsh of Simple Mom, Nester and Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam who is not only a friend in real life, but also kept Nester and I company on the long drive to and from Nashville.
And then there is Amber of The Run a Muck. Two words: kindred spirit. Meeting her was one of those “Hello. I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?” moments. I connected with her instantly, and when I checked out her blog one sleepless night in Nashville, I knew why. This lovely soul was created to write. Read her. You will be blessed. A gift indeed.
There was lots of eating, as seen here by Kim of Endless Possibilities.
There were also some really great shoes. I took lots of photos of people’s shoes this weekend. Actually, I took lots of photos period. If you would like to have more of a peek into the weekend and see more fantastically talented people, feel free to check out my flickr stream, which I am still adding to so check back.
I’m so glad I went and so pleased to have met so many of you. If you are interested in seeing more posts about BlissDom ’09, visit Musings of Housewife, a hub for all the action.
This is our first Christmas in our new house. I’ve been looking forward to decking this mantle out with garland galore.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Thanks, Nester for the great ideas!
Oh. And one more thing. I can’t publish this post without showing you the truth behind the beauty: the casualties of my garland after a fire.
This is only a portion of what fell out as The Man repeatedly jostled it every time he moved the screen to poke the fire. The nerve.
And while I’m confessing things, here is our fireplace flue. I think we could market this and sell it online. Genius.
Those Creative Women had their show on Saturday and, since I have no goods to sell, I did my best to capture the work of their creative hands.
Kendra at My First Kitchen sold her homemade spices. Just look at these tiny jars. They were my favorite.
The Nester celebrated her birthday by selling her lovely tassels. Doesn’t that chocolate lab tassel look like a real chocolate lab? As in, let me bite your head off on Easter?
Kendra’s mom of Imagery Limited was there with lots of stained glass lovelies. I wanted all of them.
Here are some of the necklaces Melody makes. I wanted to buy one but guess what I left at home? That’s right. ALL MY MONEY. Who comes to a show like this with no money? The tagalong little sister, that’s who.
As much as I loved all the creative goods, my most favorite part of the day was mingling with all of the women who came to the show, both new friends and old.
Here’s Sissy from Out on a Limb getting a quick consultation from The Nester. Yes, she brought photos from home. And she wasn’t the only one who did this, by the way.
Look who else came. It’s June from Bye, Bye Pie! She had a tassel on her head within 25 seconds of entering the door. Full of laughs, that one. And she evidently she can’t keep her hands off her chest.
Students came too. See that one there in the middle? She reads Bye, Bye Pie during school hours and then calls her classmates to gather round the computer and laugh. So June, don’t be surprised if you are nominated for a senior superlative because these cool kids are totally into you.
These girls may get the award for who traveled farthest (furthest?) for the show. Pink and Polka Dot and Everyday Grace (who has a private blog) drove from out of town to chat, mingle and browse. They may or may not have bought tassels. They may or may not have brought us presents. It may or may not have been my favorite part of the day. I just love the blog world.
In closing, let me leave you with some of the families involved in the day:
Here’s Kendra with her beautiful sister Hannah and their uber talented mom, Cindy.
Look! It’s Lauren with her lovely sister Amanda. She also brought her fiance Justin who was semi-famous among the women at the show as he was A. one of the only men in attendance and B. we’ve all seen his photos on her blog.
Kristin and her mom smile for me just after making their purchases. Don’t they look happy? If you missed out on the show but would still like to buy a few gifts for Christmas, all these girls have Etsy shops so check them out.
I felt compelled to share these photos, as it was my craft for the day. Thanks for reading and happy shopping.
Warning. This post has a lot of links and I am sorry. I am also sorry if you inadvertently revert back to seventh grade when everyone went on that weekend retreat except you because your Great Aunt Patsy Lou was in town and your Mom would NOT listen to reason and let you go. And then all your friends came home and talked about it and were BFFs. I really hope this isn’t like that.
I spent the weekend with my sister in Nashville for BlissDom ’08. If you are unfamiliar with Blissfully Domestic, you should check it out. It is an online magazine that covers a variety of topics including marriage and family, home keeping, frugal living and fashion rules – to name only a few.
Karla and Alli are the co-founders of the magazine. With the help of some fabulous sponsors (Epson and One2One Network) they hosted a conference completely free on Saturday in Nashville. That is a big deal, y’all. There was swag. There were door prizes. It was pretty much awesome. And free. Thanks to the sponsors who think those of us who blog have an influence.
The Nester was on a few of the speaking panels and I, in true little sister fashion, tagged along: completely decked out in an outfit that came directly from her closet. She has a big ‘ole post on her blog that you should check out. Everything she said about everyone she met, I pretty much feel the same. And she posted stolen photos, so that’s kind of exciting.
The first time I attended an event that included other bloggers was at She Speaks back in June. That is where I first met Robin of Pensieve. The Nester and I were blessed to have her as a roommate (as well of Karla, who I also met at She Speaks).
This is Robin. She is grounded and funny and has a great accent. She is the editor of Inspired Bliss and also the Religion and Philosophy editor for Blog Nosh Magazine.
If any of you are bloggers who have never met another person who blogs in real life, let me encourage you to do so. Even if it is simply someone you’ve been reading who you know lives close. Arrange to meet for coffee. I have discovered that the women I connect with through blogging are women I connect with in real life. Seems obvious, but you know there’s always that question in the back of your mind: is this woman for real or typing from jail? In a man’s body? It is the creepy Internet, after all.
Speaking of meeting other bloggers: THANK YOU for your responses to my question from Monday. I enjoyed hearing all the reasons why you write and read blogs. Overwhelmingly, we blog for connection.
I asked the same question of the women on one of the panels during the conference because I believe it is vital for us to remember the purpose behind what we do. Honestly, blogging takes up space in my psyche and I have to remember the purpose for that space. It is valuable real estate, after all. It is replacing something that previously existed in that space and without a clear purpose, I feel like I’m wasting time. I’ll save that purpose for another post, though.
One last thing about the conference, I was blessed with another spontaneous surprise:
I got to meet my Fairy Blog Mother. In case you don’t know what that means, she designed my blog. She did not attend the conference but she lives in the area and she and her friends Kim and Rachel got up early Sunday morning just to come have breakfast with Nester and me. I was so touched that they would go out of their way to do this. When she was designing this layout for me, we emailed a lot and kind of got to know one another. I always wanted to meet her but never EVER thought I would. A sweet gift that I didn’t even know to ask for.
So that concludes my spontaneous adventure. It was a lovely, unexpected thing to be able to take off in a car with my sister and drive many hours and drink lots of coffee and eat Blizzards from DQ and laugh until we…well, you know. Speaking of underwear, I am glad to be home with a full supply.
In the name of being spontaneous (yes, I’m still being spontaneous), a trip that was supposed to be two days long has turned into six. I feel 10 years younger. Especially since my mom has done my laundry. Twice.
These girls are one of the many blessings I have received on this spontaneous trip. The Nester and I made plans to have lunch with Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I attended several of her sessions at the She Speaks conference in June and was immediately drawn to her girlfriend speaking style and her willingness to speak truth with the perfect blend of confidence and grace. Sitting across the table from her, those qualities were displayed even more. She has a unique ability to cast vision for others and encourage them in that. If you don’t know anything about Lysa or Proverbs 31, let me encourage you to check them out.
Kristen of Beautifully Imperfect called me an hour before lunch. Spontaneously. She has never called me before. She even had to track down The Man to get my number. I am so glad she did. She is a friend from my hometown who is recently married and new to this big city (some of you may remember these photos from her wedding). She heard I was visiting and hesitantly asked if we could get together. Within the hour, we were sitting for lunch together and I truly believe it was a divine appointment. She is a writer. And as we listened to her talk about how she reluctantly decided to begin writing again through blogging, I felt as though I was watching the beginning of a dream take hold in her. I can’t wait to continue to know her better through her writing.
This week has been crazy and unpredictable. I’m still not home and I have a spontaneous road trip with my sister to look forward to. That’s right. I am thankful for the blessings available even in the midst of chaos. I am thankful for the money to buy new underwear because I didn’t pack enough. I am thankful for a sister who lets me borrow her cool clothes because I didn’t bring any. Speaking of chaos, check out my first attempt at taking the above photo with the remote. I need to practice being inconspicuous.
Hi. My name is Emily and I am spontaneous. I blame that word for the lack of a real post today because the kids and I (heavy emphasis on I) spontaneously decided to visit my parents and The Nester this week. I even packed dirty clothes because I did not have time to wash them before I came. That is how very spontaneous I am. Unfortunately, the Internet service at my parents house is also spontaneously not uploading the photos I need to include to show you about all the spontaneity. Stay tuned, because I’m taking a chance and living the wild life, baby. You won’t wanna miss it. (Andy Davis, anyone?)