Much Needed Update

I guess its high time I updated this right? Most (hopefully all) of you who care already know how we're doing, but since I'm converting this into a blog that is pretty much meant to keep friends and family back home updated, I figure I'd better get to it already.

First off, like I just mentioned, I'm making this blog primarily a way for family and friends to keep up with us since we've moved a few hours away. Anyone else is free to read it of course, but it'll probably be boring to anyone who doesn't know us. I'm also in the process of transferring Feature Friday over to a friend's blog (Sara over at SaMiEDesigns). I think I was putting too much pressure on myself to get a certain number of posts up each week, and it just wasn't fun anymore.

So then. On to the how we're doing. :)

First off, let me just say... we LOVE it here!!! Everyone is SO friendly, and not once has Jess been called 'sir' (which was almost a daily occurrence back home). Its also amazing to be surrounded by so many trees, and incredible to see the gorgeous views we encounter every day (from the mountains we see outside our door to the city below as we drive down the mountain, as well as the many mountain views we see while driving around town and anytime we drive anywhere else! I feel so blessed that we are able to live here. We were a bit rocky on money at first, but we are getting back on our feet. Jess has been getting a lot of extra hours at work lately and also gets 3 checks this month, so that definitely helps.

I love my job too. The $5/hour pay cut from what I was used to in nursing is an adjustment, but its sooo worth it. The work is not nearly as stressful, physically or mentally. Walgreen's is an awesome company to work for too. We get discounts with a lot of major companies (Apple and Ford, to name a few- could definitely come in handy if we ever buy another car!), as well as store discounts and benefits. (I'm not sure yet on how good the benefits are. I will be eligible for them in a few weeks though, so I should be getting info on them soon. Hard to believe we've already been here almost 3 months!)

My favorite of the Scenic Overlook
pictures I took Thursday,
edited with Instagram
This past Thursday I ended up going on a last-minute trip up to Johnson City, Tennessee for a work meeting for new employees. (Mgmt didn't hear about it til last minute and told me I didn't have to worry about it if I didn't want to, but I wanted to go. I love seeing new places.) It was just under an hour's drive, and the meeting was your typical new employee meeting. My favorite part though was the drive! There are SO many beautiful mountain views, and there are periodic 'Scenic Overlooks' along the way. I didn't stop at any on the way there because I wanted to make sure I got there on time, but I stopped at several on the way home and took TONS of pictures.

I am not so crazy about Jess' job though. She gets, on average, 12 hours a week, and makes less an hour than I do. Her boss is a total airhead, makes last minute changes to the schedule and doesn't tell anyone, and then gets pissed when someone doesn't show up for work. She has such a horrible attitude in general too, she is always bitching and complaining about something! I think the only thing Jess really likes about the job is the 25% discount, and the occasional day they do where employees get an extra 25% off. We are looking for her a new one, but it seems there are too many people looking for jobs and too few companies hiring. We'll keep trying though!

We still love our apartment. Its much smaller than the townhouse was, and has been a bit of an adjustment, and there are still several boxes sitting full of things we have nowhere to put. But those of you who know me at all know I have plans for some new storage options when we have the extra money! And its a lot less to clean, so that is nice of course! :) I think one of the things I love the most about it is the location. Its a fairly upscale neighborhood, and I love to go walking to see all the beautiful houses and scenery, and of course take pictures! I'm still working on actually getting out and going walking more, but I do it more here than I did back in Lincolnton!

On that note, we've also lost some weight! Can't really say the exact amounts, because we haven't had a chance to get on the only scale we had weighed on back home (my mom's), but we both fit into a lot of clothes that weren't fitting before. We got on the scale at my sister Crystal's house last weekend and it said 180 lbs for me (Jess didn't want me to reveal her number), which is awesome! Last time we weighed at my mom's I *think* I was around 205 or 210 (that's the kind of memory you suppress lol) and Jess was about 25 lbs less than the last time she weighed at Mama's. So that's somewhere around 25-30 lbs for both of us! (Crystal claims the scale actually runs about 10 off, in a good way, but that would put me at 170 and I just can't believe that! Last time I was 170 I was wearing a size 11/12, and right now I'm ecstatic to be fitting in my size 15 jeans again. But I will gladly take 180!)

I think that's about it for now, at least that's all I can think of! Miss you guys, and love you all!


A Whole New Canvas!

Day 2 in our new apartment! We are slowly (very slowly!) getting unpacked. Progress is slow because Jess is already working, and my back has been bothering me a lot lately. But we'll get there eventually!

As I unpack little by little, I can't help but picture how I'm going to decorate everything. Its a much smaller canvas than I had to work with in our townhome, but that's completely ok with me since I get to look at such a beautiful view every day! Plus it has a deck that runs the full length of the house. Jess already has visions of hanging a hammock caddy-cornered on one end, and I want a table and chairs so we can eat outside! And the beautiful thing is, there's room for both, and then some!

View of our house from the street below. That bottom deck (and bottom floor level) is all ours!

Its also going to be a challenge in that its so small, I want to utilize every bit of storage space as effectively as possible. So I'm already looking at some options to help with that as well.

There are a few other things I already know I want. A yellow shower curtain, for example, which is something I had been thinking about in our last place, and then I got here and found beautiful, plush yellow towels, and I was sold! I haven't found one I like for the space yet though, but I will. (Yes, it does have a shower curtain already, but its just clear, and I want to add our own style to the space!)

Another thing is a new comforter for our bed. Its something I've wanted for a while (I blogged about one I loved here). The sheets that were provided are a pretty pretty blue, and although they are full sheets for the full bed which we had them replace with our queen, we borrowed a couple of the pillowcases, and they look amazing with our red sheets. So much so that I started looking for a blue and red comforter to pull it all in. I fell in love with this one from Target:

Boho Boutique Mosaic Fleur from Target

It has blue and red, plus a little bit of teal and yellow and a few other colors. I'm even contemplating bringing in Sarah (who is, atm, homeless), if I can figure out how to make it work.

I'm also working on getting Feature Friday started back up, so hopefully I will have that back up and running by this Friday!


Finally Moving!

I haven't forgotten about yall, I promise!

Remember me saying we were wanting to move? Well its happening! It took a couple of tries, but I finally found an employer who was understanding of the fact that we WANTED to move there, and didn't actually live there yet and was willing to work with us. Once I found out I had a job, I put in my notice at my job here (Subway), and the race was on to find an apartment!

We had to wait til my days off from Subway to go hunting, and most of what we looked at we liked ok, but would be cutting it seriously close money-wise. There was one we saw, however, that we instantly fell in love with, and shockingly it was the CHEAPEST of anything we saw or researched, but the lady said she was waiting to hear back from someone else, and if he didn't take it we could have it. Later that night we still hadn't heard from her, and between the torn nerves from waiting to hear about 'The One' and from worrying about finding something else we liked and could afford, things were tense. We ended up getting a hotel room because it was cheaper than going back home just to drive back the next day for more apt hunting. So the next day, we were driving around checking out more apts in surrounding towns, and I got a text: "You guys can have the apartment". There was more to it of course, but you get the gist. We were so happy we cried! Yes both of us cried. Like a couple of little girls.

So, for the last week, we've been packing some every day, and ironing out the details of moving, and stressing like crazy! And tomorrow is finally Moving Day, so if you pray, please say a prayer for us that this move goes smoothly!

For those of you who would be asking for pictures, I haven't gotten around to taking any of the apt itself yet, but here is one of the view from our deck! I can't wait to see it when the leaves are changing, and when the trees are bare!


Feature Friday- Jennifer Leigh

Feature Friday! I'm not as excited today as I normally am (sure, I could fake it, but Jess tells me all the time I'm a bad liar! I'd rather just be honest :) ) I've just had a lot going on lately, and for those of you who missed my last post, we are getting ready to move as soon as we get everything in order! (You can read more details here.) I was off yesterday and had planned on getting several FF's typed up so all I would have to do is post them and not worry about it, but then I got called in to work anyway. And we could use every bit of extra money we can get. So, I'm not sure yet about the fate of next week's post, but here is this week's!

*Disclaimer: All images in this post are from Jennifer Leigh at SohoGallery. I claim no credit or responsibility for any of the art or photography in this post.

Magnolia Tree

Jennifer had a lot to say in her interview, so I'm going to jump right into it!

Where do you get your inspiration?
JL ~ I get inspiration from various sources, primarily from nature and emotions, but also from unexpected sources such as magazine articles, commercials, or a striking photograph........anything that can trigger that part of the creative brain that causes you to want to emote something on canvas.

How long have you been painting?
JL ~ I have been painting most of my life but did not start really immersing myself into it full time until after 2001. I lived in New York City for 16 years, and when 9/11 occurred, I reevaluated my life and relocated in the hopes of doing something positive full time that I loved, and something that would give me inner peace.

How/why did you get started selling on Etsy? Do you sell anywhere else?
JL ~ I started Etsy after an artist friend told me to check it out. It took me some time to get acclimated to the processes involved with selling your artwork, i.e., photoshop examples, how to ship large paintings, etc. But I wanted it so bad, that I just focused on the technical aspects relentlessly until I was able to comprehend enough to be able to then solely concentrate on the art. I also have a shop on Ebay under the seller name Gallery_Expressions, but most of my stock is on Etsy.

What's your favorite piece (of your own, someone else's or both)?
JL ~ I have a lot of favorites, probably because your paintings become like your children in a strange way. You put so much emotion into each one of them and they become very near to your heart. They all turn out differently (and some take on a life of their own) which is the joy of art. No painting can ever be exactly duplicated once it is finished. It is like capturing a special moment in time, forever preserved. I also love to admire the work of other artists. I never tire of seeing others' interpretations and emotions on display. And everyone is so unique. Some artists are extremely skilled and schooled at their craft, while others draw from a more visceral space from within. There is always something to admire and learn from other artists. 

Ready for the goodies? I am!

Unquenchable Spirit
This one is by far my favorite. There's so much passion in it!

Lilies of the Valley
These lilies are just so bright and fun!

Aurora Borealis
 I don't think this one really needs any explanation. Its beautiful!

Eagle Feather
Jennifer also does custom-painted horses like this one! Cool huh?

If you've seen something you like or want to see more, check out her store! She's offering a 10% discount, just enter code "ORIGINALART" at checkout.



I want to apologize in advance for being MIA for the next few weeks and maybe even months. I've had some drama going on to deal with lately, plus Jess and I have decided we are moving! Asheville, North Carolina to be exact, about 2 hours away from where we live now. Its something we have discussed for over a year now as doing 'someday', but now feels like the right time. The problem is that neither of our jobs will relocate, in addition to which there is the catch 22 that most housing wants employment verification, and most employers want housing verification. So we are throwing all of our energies into finding people who are willing to work with us on that. (So if any of you wonderful readers happen to know someone in Asheville who'd be willing to help, please let me know!)
Asheville's night skyline, courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com
I haven't yet decided whether I will still do the Feature Fridays, or postpone them for a while, but as soon as I do I will be sure to let you all know!


Feature Friday- Jennifer Smith

*Disclaimer: All images in this post are from Jennifer Smith at PicturesbyJennifer. I claim no credit or responsibility for any of the art or photography in this post.
Woot woot, it is time for Feature Friday again! Anyone else get as excited as I do? No? Well, that's ok, I think I get excited enough for all of you! This week's feature is on Jennifer Smith who runs an Etsy shop named PicturesbyJennifer. Her work is some of my absolute favorite. She is just starting out and has only made 3 sales so far, but I'm hoping I can help with that! :)

A Lady of Sparkle and Intrigue
Yall know by now I'm sure that I love mermaids and this is no exception! She is beautiful! She looks so coy.

Jennifer was so kind as to answer a few questions for yall.

How long have you been painting?
JS ~ Art is something I have always done. Drawing was my first love, then I fell for the texture of clay and how I could make whatever I liked. I've been painting now for at least twelve years. I am mostly self taught but have taken a couple classes at some local community colleges. I really like the classroom atmosphere and having other students nearby to get opinions and ideas from. It's also nice to have people to talk to while I'm painting. 

Rolling Hills
Where do you get your inspiration?
JS ~ I get my inspiration from all over the place, but mostly from nature, other artists and photographs I see. I love the natural shapes of the earth and trees. Color is also very inspirational for me. I like to use odd colors to help set my artwork apart from other painters. One of my favorite color combinations is orange and bright blue, I love to use the contrasting colors next to each other to create emphasis in various areas. Curving lines are very alluring to me such as the lines in Rolling Hills.

[Curving lines are very alluring to me too! Maybe that's why I love her work so much? Well that, combined with how bright and colorful they are, because yall know I looooove me some color!]

How/why did you get started selling on Etsy?
JS ~ My friends and family have always been very encouraging about my art and have been suggesting I sell my creations for a couple years. It wasn't until my sister gave me a meeting with a psychic for last years Christmas present that things got rolling. I don't know why that meeting gave me the encouragement that I needed, however it was all very positive and eye opening. She said many of the same things my friends and family have, but two days later I had uploaded and opened the store. It's been really fun and exciting to see other peoples feedback and comments and even more exciting, even humbling, when someone buys a painting.

After The Storm
What's your favorite piece?
JS ~ It is so hard to pick my favorite piece. Usually it ends up being one I currently finished. There are a couple that I don't have listed on Etsy that I really enjoy. One is similar to Rolling Hills. On Etsy, I really like the Rhythm of the Turtle and the latest dragonfly piece [After The Storm].

Since this is a home decor blog, I'd love it if you'd include a picture of something from your home that you love!
JS ~ I love those home decorating shows and attempted to have a color theme in my bedroom. I'm happy with the low cost way it turned out. The art is mine. I decorate with my art cause it's cheap :-) . It's called Flowing Wonderment.

[I think its beautiful! The rug placement seems a bit odd, but its an odd room perspective anyway. I also asked her about the thing hanging from the middle of the curtain rod, and she said this: "The object above my bed is a hand blown glass lozenge shape that I got from the Corning Glass museum in New York State. I really liked the color combination and pattern. It's hanging on a double strand of hemp from my curtain rod."]

And because I can't resist, here are a few more beauties of hers:

Northern Peak
Tree of Life- Everything That
Goes Up, Must Come Down
See something you absolutely can't live without? Or do you love her style, but have something else in mind you'd like her to create for you? Before you go running over to her shop to buy it, you should know that she is doing a spring sale. Enter the code SPRING10 when you check out to get 10% off your purchase!


Let's Talk Art

I think most of you regulars are aware by now of my love for Etsy. Well this post is about a similar love of mine, one that I've been neglecting for some time now. Its called FineArt America, and its similar to Etsy in that artists can sell their work. There are a few key differences though.

 1- Many Etsy sellers sell supplies for various projects, others sell home goods such as pillows and lamps, etc. On FAA you can find any type of printed art, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and glass products.
2-  FAA gives artists the option to let customers buy prints in various sizes, as well as pick out framing and matting if they desire, all from the same page as the painting they picked out. FAA even handles all the printing and shipping for the prints, using only the computer image uploaded by the artist, and pays the artist via mail or paypal. 
I'm ashamed to say I've spent nearly the whole day today browsing FAA. Sure, I can chalk it up to blog business because I found a dozen new artists for Feature Friday, but at the end of the day there is housework that has to be done too. So, shame on me. Maybe tomorrow I'll do better.

I figured the least I could do is share with you a few of my new favorite pieces :)

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Maps are so trendy right now! Word map art is quickly becoming popular as well, and I love this super colorful version. I think this would be awesome to put in a kids room, what a fun way to help them learn their states!

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I was in awe when I saw this. I seriously thought about ordering it in a small size and using it somewhere in my living room. And who knows, I still might!

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I'm not sure what to call this style, but its gorgeous. It seems as if its just a bunch of strips all laid together that happen to make a picture, and some parts are lighter than others and some don't quite line up. I love it!

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I think Jess would love this one. She has a thing for phoenixes (phoenix? what is the plural form of phoenix?) and that's what this reminds me of. I seriously thought about buying it too, I definitely think I could tie it into my living room.

If you see something you like, and are patient enough to wait a month or 2, I've messaged all these artists about being featured, and one has already gotten back to me and wants to do a giveaway, so keep an eye out for that! If you just have to have it now and absolutely can't wait, then don't forget to tell them I sent ya!