January 2016 archive

Decorating for winter

Does anyone else feel a little blah since the holidays are over? Here we are supposed to feel renewed and have all these goals and resolutions.  Taking down my Christmas decor made me really sad.  My house looks so bare and uninspired. I decided I could use some of my holiday decor to decorate my home for winter.  It is way too early to bring in my spring decor so that leaves several months with nothing else to do.  Here are some great winter options to add to your home.

Decorating Your Home For Winter

Winter decorating doesn't have to be painful. You can even use some of your holiday decor. You just have to pair it with the right pieces.

You can always use pinecones, snow, birch logs, mercury glass, and candles.  These elements will give your home a lovely winter feel, without looking like you are still decorated for Christmas.  If you’re still not convinced, it depends on how you use them to create a wintry effect in your home. You will notice in the pictures below, I had most of these items in my Christmas decor.  I’m just using them in a totally different way.

In this photo, I removed the golden deer that were in this scene from Christmas.  This dried garland from One Kings Lane, still looks great and is perfect for the wintry look I’m going for.  Then when spring rolls around, I will just get rid of the garland.

This one Kings Lane dried garland is the perfect winter decor for after the holidays.

I love this horse from Painted Fox.  At the time I purchased it, it  was 40% off.  I don’t know if it is still on sale, but I love it and it is the perfect size for my table.  Even if it’s not on sale, it is a great piece to have and it is so darling as a winter decoration.

This horse from Painted Fox is the perfect winter decoration. It is the perfect size for my dining room table.

I changed out my pillow covers to these Pottery Barn pillowcases.  They are amazing.  They are so soft, and they transform it to a winter look immediately.  They are so cozy, my dog has been getting on my white couches.  That is the only place in the house she isn’t allowed.

These pillow covers from Pottery Barn are the perfect winter touch for my living room.

I would love to know what you use in your winter decor.  You guys give me great ideas each time I post.  Sometimes you reach me through other social media links like Facebook and Instagram.  Leave comments here on my posts or any of my social media and I will get back to you.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

How do you Measure Success?

I just returned from the Bash Conference in Phoenix and I learned a lot about blogging and met lots of new friends. These conferences are meant to get you motivated and set you in the right direction.  They give you a little umph to kick yourself into gear and in this case, start the New Year off with a bang.  Everyone is talking about organization and goal setting since it’s the New Year.  I want to take it a step further and analyze what you think success looks like to you.

How Do You Measure Success?

This subject is so subjective…. Everyone looks at success with a different set of criteria.  Are you successful if you have the fancy car, big house, and six figure income?  Or do you measure it by a beautiful family with 2.5 kids, a nice house with the white picket fence, a husband, and a stable career you love.  Also, do you have spiritual balance and a good relationship with your spouse?  All these things sound amazing…  I wonder how many would be on your list to indicate success?

How Do You Measure Success?

We all have a certain criteria for different aspects of our lives.  You may be pushing a little harder one year to advance your professional career while your spouse is giving a little more on the home front.  I think the major thing to remember is BALANCE.  Having balance in your personal and professional life seems to be the key to making most people happy.

The best way to achieve this balance goes back to setting appropriate goals for the different parts of your life that you are holding yourself accountable for.  Then you know nothing will fall through the cracks and you’re juggling those balls and wearing as many hats as you can to the best of your ability.  You just need to know when to say NO.  It’s ok to not be the snack mom every party.  My husband always says, “is this something you’re going to be thinking about 5 years from now?”  If you can answer no, then the majority of the time it’s not worth worrying about.  Enjoy this year and be the best version of yourself in 2016.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

How to Create Inspiration Boards Using Pinterest

Have you ever made an inspiration board?  I used to make them by tearing out magazine pages and putting together a collage. Now that we have Pinterest, it is easy to put an incredible one together.  You can make a board that represents your taste and share it or keep it as a secret board.  Branding yourself and your business is a big deal these days and there are design companies that will help you create your look starting with inspiration boards.  I happened to be in Creative’s Academy (an online business course) when I was designing my logo. I had to make an inspiration board as one of our assignments.  I honestly thought it was the best part of the course.  It was fun and easy for me.  I have always had a clear cut vision of what my site or business should portray.  Executing that is a different story, but the vision was easy.  To see my inspiration board, check it out on Pinterest here.

Here are some tips for creating your own inspiration board.  It doesn’t have to be for your business.  It could just be inspiration for fashion, home decor,  or designs that you like.  Anything that inspires you can be included.  In my office, I have mood boards/bulletin boards that change constantly as seasons/holidays change. I just took down all my Christmas stuff and have replaced it with wedding pictures.  I have a wedding series coming up the week before Valentine’s.  You do not want to miss this.  I love these boards as well because they do change so frequently as color palettes and trends change.  However, your inspiration board doesn’t really change.  Just like your brand, it is something that represents you and your style.  Your logo and brand will eventually come from your inspiration board so this is something that needs to be YOU right from the start.

How to Create An Inspiration Board

  1. Think about things that represent you and your longterm style. NOT TRENDS.
  2. What color and textures are in your wardrobe?
  3. What design elements are in your home decor?
  4. What accessories do you tend to gravitate toward?
  5. What is your favorite color palette?
  6. What words would describe your business/style?

Use these questions and statements to help you pull pictures together and create an inspiration board that fits your style and personality.  If you used the link to my board you can tell the colors are cohesive and the pictures all connect in some way.

I would love to see yours boards. Send me your links. I can’t wait to see if we have anything in common or if your style is totally different.  You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up with all the latest postings.  My posts will be getting back to the things we all love INTERIORS and PARTIES.  Thanks for hanging with me in january as I tried something a little different.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Packing For Bash Blogging Conference

I am tickled pink to be attending my first blogging conference this weekend. Bash will be held January 14-16th in Phoenix, Arizona. This amazing event will attract party planners, bloggers, and anyone associated with the event coordinating world.  They have such an amazing set of speakers lined up for us that I can hardly contain my excitement. I have a wedding series coming up right before Valentine’s, so this conference is coming at the perfect time for me.

Packing for this event can be a little nerve wrecking, but I decided to go event by event and coordinate my wardrobe that way to make sure I packed all the necessary outfits.  It is kind of like packing for a girl’s weekend.  I will be meeting tons of new women and making connections with business contacts as well. Since this is my first time going, I will probably over pack to be on the safe side.  However, I want to try to get all my clothes in one medium sized suitcase for easy traveling.

packing for blog conference

I have worn the same travel day outfit since I can remember.  It is a long cotton skirt with a cute stripe pattern. It is comfortable and keeps me warm on the plane.  However, it is also a little dressier if you end up meeting someone on your way to the event.  I also have a black long sweater from Cache.  That store went out of business, but I’m literally obsessed with this sweater.  I once left it in the airport on the way to NY and my husband spent the whole weekend tracking it down for me so when I returned they had it waiting for me at the gate.  He’s the best.  #superhusband, #favoritesweater.

As I lay out each outfit I’m going to lay out the coordinating shoes and jewelry.  This way I don’t forget anything important.  Lastly, I will pack toiletries and hair products.  I know if you have a roommate it’s a good idea to bring a power strip.  There is never enough outlets for phone chargers, hair tools etc….

The best thing to do when packing is to pack layering outfits.  You never know what kind of temperature the venue will be set on.  To make yourself comfortable, bring sweaters that you can put on or take off depending on the temperature.

Take extra charging devices.  You will more than likely be using your phone to look up things and take tons of pictures.  Know your phones data will be used without wifi sometimes during the trip.  Bring an alternate source.

Having your camera is so important.  Of course you’re there to learn and have fun, but you’re also there to work and document your trip for your readers.  It will be worth dragging your big camera around.

Take something to write on or record your notes that you take during your sessions.  Don’t expect the speaker to have the notes outlined for you.  In this day and age of going green, not many places xerox packets of paper.

Since you will be meeting new bloggers and tons of vendors, you will need to bring your business cards.  You want to get your name out to as many people as possible.  This is your time to shine and stand out amongst the crowd.

Well I think I’m all packed and ready to go.  I hope I have everything I need and I can’t wait to meet so many new contacts and friends.  I hope this post has been helpful.  I will be doing a follow up from the conference with photos later.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions 2016

2015 was a great year for me and my family.  My husband had a successful year in his business and my kids seem to be pretty settled into their activities. Chase is finishing his last year in Middle School basketball.  He has started every game which we are so proud of him for this accomplishment. Taylor is steadily preparing to take her SAT and is really enjoying the freedom of having her license. I’m loving writing my blog and learning as much as I can about this interesting journey.  However, there are always things I can reflect upon and work toward doing better.  I’ve thought of several areas in my life that I would like to work on in 2016.

2016 New Year's Resolutions

SERVICE-

I really want to become more settled in my church family.  I want to make sure my kids are attending church on a regular basis and have strong roots in a youth program.  I think when you surround yourself around like minded people you tend to try to do the right thing and stay on track.  I need to read the word more and go to the Lord in prayer about more things instead of wasting time trying to solve things on my own.

Organization

I NEED an area designated for my props.  I have now acquired so many entertaining pieces that things are oozing out of my cabinets and I need a place to put everything.  I have tons of cabinet space, but there are just too many items, serving pieces, dishes, linens etc…. I would like to clean out one of the large closets in our playroom and put some container Store shelves in there.  That way I can easily see what I have and I don’t keep repurchasing the same things. That has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Health and Wellness

This one is on my list every year, but it is something I’m always striving to do better at.  I really need to take the time to cook healthy dinners and exercise every weekday.  I also would love to do Pure Barre. Is anyone else out there excited about starting a new workout regime? I’m really excited about signing up for the classes.  I’ve looked into them and I’m really looking forward to it.  I already have a gym membership for doing cardio.  I got my workout playlist ready to go.  My daughter lost 55 pounds starting last January and has kept it off.  It was an amazing transformation.  She looks fabulous and I’m so happy for her.  Now it’s my turn to stick with it and get down to the number I want to see on that scale.  More importantly, it is about how I want to look in my clothes and how I feel about myself.

Spend Quality time with kids

I really want to make sure I’m spending as much quality time with my daughter as possible.  She only has one more year before she leaves for college. She is also driving on her own and won’t be driving with me as much anymore.  I need to insert myself in her life as much as I can without being annoying.  We have always been a close family, but this age is hard because they want to be adults, but also kids at the same time.

Getting More Sleep

I am a night owl.  I have a hard time staying on a normal sleeping schedule.  I have insomnia and it does affect my daily activities when I don’t get enough sleep. I would love to get on a normal nighttime routine so I can start my bedtime rituals at the same time each night and get to bed at a decent time.  My wake up time is the same due to my kid’s schedule. Therefore, no matter what time I go to bed I only have a certain amount of time to sleep.  If anyone has any tips to help me in this area, please let me know.  I welcome the suggestions.

These are the goals I would like to work on in 2016.  They are specific enough and important to me so I hope I will keep working to obtain each goal.  What are the things you are working toward in 2016?  Happy New Year to you all and I hope this is your best year yet.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Setting New Year’s Goals

Well we are into 2016 and I’m ready to set some goals for this new year.  I’m not one that really likes to do New Year’s resolutions.  I feel most of those just fall short of my completing them and then I feel bad or guilty.  However, when I set obtainable goals I feel they are something I can strive to achieve and I keep working toward my end goal.  I’m just trying to better myself and keep pushing to do my best each day.

There are a couple things I like to do to make achieving my goals a little easier.  Here is a list of the things I do.  I would love to hear what you do also.  Leave comments below to let me know what helps you accomplish your goals.

Setting Goals for 2016

Things That Help Me Accomplish My Goals

  1. Write it down–  Things seem real when you write them down.  Writing down your goals help give you a clear statement as to what you want to accomplish.
  2. Make your goal specific–  Sometimes we make goals so broad we’re not really sure what the parameters are and what we really want to accomplish.  Make sure you know exactly what it is that you are trying to work on.
  3. Enlist a friend-  Having a friend to workout with is way more fun then being on your own.  A friend can also hold you accountable on days you don’t want to work out or you want to eat a piece of cheesecake.
  4. Set a timeline or deadline. Dates will help keep you on track.  I always do better when I know when I have to start and finish something.  It just seems to keep me in line when I know what the time frame is that I will be accomplishing a certain task.
  5. Use as many resources as possible to reach your goal.- There are so many resources these days that can help you reach your goal.  Books, social media, Apps and professionals are all great resources that may get you to the place you want to be. Don’t be afraid to get help from other sources.
  6. Change your habits.  When you slowly change your daily habits you can make a difference in your life and implement change in a positive direction.

Success is the sum of

small efforts,

repeated day in and day out.

-Robert Collier

God is within her. She will not fail.

Psalm 46:5

Best Posts of 2015

I’m so excited.  This is my first post in 2016.  I’m steadily packing away the decorations and getting my house back in order.  One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of a new year is to reflect upon the old year and see what my readers liked and didn’t like.  I like to put out posts that are interesting for you and that I enjoy writing.  I love checking Google Analytics and seeing all the graphs and charts.  I really get into all that kind of stuff.  Here are some of your favorite posts of 2015.  Check them out below as we review last year.

10.  Friday Faves Christmas Gift Guide

Gift guide 2015

9.  Fall Instagram Roll

Fall instagram roll

8.  Best Posts of 2014

Places to Visit in NYC

7. How to Create the Best Holiday Card

Loriwoodhouse1

6. Importance of Having your Own Workspace

having a space to Work

5. Thanksgiving Family Traditions-

Thanksgiving traditions

4. Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday travel tips

3. Fall Home Tour

Fall home house tour

2. Yourstrulyjenn Perfectly Plaid Tour-

Perfectly plaid tour1. The most viewed post of 2015 was Holiday Home Tour 2015-

Christmas tour part 1

These were the top ten posts of 2015.  It was such a great year for me and my blog.  I have grown a lot this year and learned so much.  I am getting ready to attend a conference in mid January and I hope I can meet a lot of new bloggers and learn a lot that I can bring back to better my blog.  I appreciate all your comments, shares, and likes.  These really help me and make my day.

Yours Truly,

Jenn