3 Personality Traits I Am Proud Of

Day #6 of the 31 day blog challenge asks what 3 personality traits I am proud of. Well being a highly emotional person also gives me a lot of compassion. So I’d say compassion is #1, followed by honesty and being thoughtful. I have strong opinions but I really try and be objective and give people grace. Hurting feelings is something I really try to avoid as it makes me sad to see someone sad. I want to build people up.

Do you have a personality trait that you feel extra awesome about?

My Guilty Pleasure

iced-coffee

source

 

Day #5 of the 31 day blog challenge asks what my guilty pleasure is. Hmmmm, I mean really I could go in so many directions but I will keep it simple. I jump start every day with an iced coffee. I used to drink iced coffee with 1/2 whole milk but now I have made the switch to 1/2 almond milk with a teeny splash of half and half. I also have to have vanilla although I am trying to cut back on the amount of vanilla that I add. Sometimes I make these at home with my Keurig and other times I pick one up at Starbucks, Peet’s or Nugget. I really love visiting random coffee shops while on vacation and doing a comparison. My favorite iced coffee is from a little place in Amador City called Andrae’s. They make their own vanilla milk. Say what? Yeah, it’s worth the drive every now and again for the splurge.

Do you have a guilty splurge?

How The Local Honey Got It’s Name

Day #3 of the 31 day blog challenge asks the meaning of my business name.

tlh-logo

It was around 5 years ago that my brother and I brainstormed on a possible stay at home business. He’s an entrepreneur and always loves a good business venture. At the time when we were talking about this blog, we were focusing on activities in and around the area and things that would draw in local families. I paid to have a logo made and the blog set up how I’d like it to be seen. Later on that year, I went back to work part time which turned into full time during tax season. That became ‘enough’ of a time filler for me and I didn’t blog much. I am still part time but I really do love and miss writing, sharing, projects, organizing and cooking. I am looking to revamp this blog and share the parts of it that my readers seem to love. So local was obviously geared towards my audience and honey was a sweet way to pull people in. Hence, ‘The Local Honey’.

The Local Honey was born because of my focus on my local community. Now I feel that the name is still inviting but I’d like to focus on a larger demographic and not just stay focused on local activities and events {although I do love this little community of mine!}.

 

20 Things and Challenges

Well hello and Happy New Year! New year, new goals – right? I know that for some people the fresh year means a clean slate. Time to start anew. Others are just looking to change their holiday habits {reintroducing exercise and sugar detox mostly}. Others aren’t looking for quick fixes but lifestyle overhauls. I think the key to success is baby steps but I also think that some challenges thrown in are fun.

 

img_7409

The Daily Quotes

I’m currently doing a couple of different challenges.

  • A 7 day healthy eating challenge with my sister in law. If you know how much sugar I’ve inhaled over the past month, then you know how much my body needs a reset. #imissmyicedcoffeewithvanilla #whatsthatgreenstuff
  • A 31 day challenge with Rachel Hollis over at The Chic Site. I signed up for this one a few days ago and I am getting daily email updates. It’s a lot of the basics – eat better, drink more water, move your body and I love that she added in journaling 10 things you are grateful for at the end of every the day.
  • A 31 day blog challenge. This just popped up on my Pinterest feed today so I am a day behind but you have to start somewhere, am I right? So each day has a topic. Follow along, it’ll be fun 🙂 Click here for the full 31 day list.

20 things about me:

  1. My full name is Gabrielle Erin, I went by Erin up until I was 15 years old. I changed towns and schools so I figured I would just make the switch. I was always correcting Gabriel {the boy version} to Gabrielle and then asking teachers to call me Erin. Of course it was immediately shortened to Gabby.
  2. I am the mom to two boys – ages 11 and almost 14.
  3. I love Instagram {click to follow me}. It’s my favorite form of social media.
  4. I love home decor.
  5. I work part time for a tax office that also does financial planning.
  6. HGTV is on in my house a lot. Fixer Upper is my favorite.
  7. My husband is a firefighter.
  8. I am super emotional.
  9. Sometimes I wish I was less emotional. It’s draining.
  10. I am taking a class on anxiety and depression this month because of my intense emotions.
  11. I think taking care of yourself is HUGE.
  12. I love walking and I try my best to get out for 2-4 miles a day. I love my FitBit and aim for 10k steps a day.
  13. I always walk with my pit bull rescue, Ollie.
  14. I couldn’t survive every day life without my village of girlfriends. They are instrumental in my sanity. Seriously.
  15. I am a big sister to two sisters and one brother.
  16. I have 2 adorable nephews and a set of twin nieces on the way. I love being an auntie.
  17. My house is home base for the holidays. I love it.
  18. I love organizing. It makes me feel so accomplished.
  19. Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places and it’s only 1.5 hours from my house.
  20. Fall is my favorite season {if you already know me, then you are well aware of this}.

Thank you for stopping by! I wish you a goal kicking 2017.

How I Organize Christmas Decor

Hopefully everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Mine was nice although it went by SO FAST. We have a couple of different Christmas celebrations between my husband’s family and then of course our own Christmas Day dinner which we host every year. I think with it falling on the weekend, it felt like we didn’t really get in ‘extra’ time to enjoy the events and the people. Is anyone else feeling that way? My brother, sis in law and nephews travel here from So Ca but it seems I blinked and they were gone. Sigh. Still, it was so fun having the little ones in the house for Christmas. They are coming up on 2 and 5. Such fun ages. My oldest nephew loves to snuggle which is pretty awesome. He also gives the best hugs. Seriously. He could win contests. My youngest nephew is just silly. He loves to play hide and seek and follow the kitty around. Next Christmas I will have twin nieces as well so it will be an extra merry Christmas.

I captured this sweet photo of my youngest with his two cousins.

img_1933

Every year, I tend to start the Christmas clean out on the 26th. Yep. I am one of those people. I know there are lots of people like me and there are lots of people that like to wait until the new year. Personally, I am always feeling a little blah when it’s all over. Seeing the empty tree and feeling a little sad cause it’s all over so quickly makes me need a project. A diversion. My version of therapy is organizing. I know. Weird. Also kinda brilliant though, right? I work out my sadness while getting my house in order. Win-win I guess.

I have a method to my madness. Honestly, from September on, it’s all about the storage bins {which my son whose name is Ben says I can’t call them anymore. He says I should refer to them as boxes. I can’t quite get on board with that but I am trying}. Starting September 1st, I start the decorating craze. First comes fall, then up goes Halloween, then back to fall but with a Thanksgiving twist and then comes Christmas. My everyday decor goes into whatever seasonal bin box I am currently unloading. Once a holiday passes, I reorganize the bin box, purge anything that I don’t truly love anymore and put it away for next year. That way, whatever I pull out next season, has been packed away neatly.

I also suggest taking photos of your decor once you’ve set in all up if you love how something looks. That way, you will have a reference for years to come. I tend to change things up every year but I like to see what I have done. This year I was pretty happy with everything and would likely do it again. It’ll be nice to have photos so I can quickly set it all up next year {setting up holiday decor is a whole other blog post – you’re gonna need a glass of wine or a coffee for that one}.

A couple of my must haves while putting away and organizing holiday decor:

  • storage  – boxes, wreaths holders, ornament containers, gift wrap containers, etc.
  • tissue or bubble wrap to protect your fragile items – old plastic bags work as well
  • label maker – these can cost around $30 but they are so handy for labeling the outside of containers

My tips for organizing Christmas {or any holiday} decor:

  1. I start by moving all of my decor to my large dining table. I have stuff tucked everywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom. By moving it all to one area, it gives me a large working space.
  2. Get out your storage containers. I love Rubbermaid but use what works best for your space.
  3. Pull out items left in the containers that you might not have used and decide if it’s love. If not, put it in a donate or sell pile.
  4. Decide how to pack things. For me, I like to separate things by space or type of decor. For example, I have a variety of trees that I use in my decor. I was able to fit all of these in one box and I labeled it, ‘Christmas Trees’. In another box I have my wood signs and my bathroom decor and in another box I have various garland and the lights that go with it and then of course I have one large box that is dedicated to my tree. It includes the tree skirt and tree topper as well as the lights and timer that we use on the tree.
  5. Label it! This will make it so much easier to get to next year. I swear by this because I have a lot of holidays bins and they all look the same. Instead of digging through them, I know exactly what is in each one because I have labeled them. You could also tape a list to the outside. My Type A personality likes the clean look of the labels though.
  6. Put it away. We have space in our garage but I also keep a few things, like my wreaths, in the attic. I also keep my wrapping paper & supplies inside my closet.

Before you know it, everything will be packed away and your house will feel fresh and new. I actually go into the new year wanting a lot less color. I need a break from the busy and bright and really enjoy the fresh clean slate.

Do you have a method to putting away the Christmas decor?

 

What’s Your Sign?

No, not your zodiac sign silly goose! I’m talking decorative signs. They are all the rage and I have several in my home to add to my decor. I really love quotes. And chalkboards. And wood signs. I mean seriously. I {heart} signs. So I have to share a few of my faves with you.

First of all, I have chalkboards throughout my house. True confession? My sister in law is my artist. I use old and new frames and MDF {which my hubby is sweet enough to cut for me} and create my own chalkboards using chalkboard paint. My awesomely creative sis in law then uses her magic chalk wielding skills to create a masterpiece. I usually have her change things up for the season but … but …. but .. she hasn’t been here since March and she’s coming in 9 sleeps people. Nine sleeps! So I have a whole bunch of work waiting for her. She’s magical. I swear.

One of my favorites that she did for me earlier this year is proudly displayed in my hall. It is from the Mumford & Sons song, Awake My Soul. Which is one of my favorite bands and songs ever.

img_2737

Letter Folk is one of my faves to follow on Instagram. I seriously LOL at some of the stuff people put out there. It’s part giggle fest, part inspirational. One of these boards in on my Christmas Wish List. For real. With a board and oodles of letters, just imagine the possibilities.

letterfolk

Vinyl Crafts over at Etsy has this sweet Kindess Matters sign. It’s a good reminder, don’t you think?

kindness-matters

Another Etsy find over at Mellisa Jane. These are the lyrics to another song that I love.

humble-and-kind

Barn Owl Primitives is one of my favorites. I love this table manners sign. I actually have one of her 2+2 signs which is a perfect addition to my gallery wall which showcases our family of 4.

table-mannersThis was a Pinterest find but without an original source. Bummer! It’s a quote that I love though. It speaks to my soul as I have a super amazing tribe. Lucky me.

tribe

I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. Soulspeak and Sawdust has some fun stuff over at Etsy.

firepit

I hope that I inspired you with these fun finds. Have a fab day.

Kitchen Daydreams

We have lived in our house for 12 years. We bought it new and picked out all of our upgrades. We still get a lot of compliments on our cabinets. They are maple with an ivory glaze. They are pretty and they go well with our flecked granite, tan backsplash and black appliances. I will say though, I have the itch to remodel. Of course this is a complete want and not a need. Everything is still very functional and doesn’t look that old but I love decor and design so I want to change all of it. All.Of.It. BUT my hubby says no. Ha ha. Plus I can think of so many other things to spend money on like family vacations, etc.

If money wasn’t an issue, I’d change everything. Starting with my hardwood floors. It’s called rustic pecan so it is much more of a light golden brown which works with the carpet and walls in the house. Everything was tan 12 years ago. Today things are gray. Oh how I love gray. I’d change my floors to something either darker or with gray tones, the cabinets would get painted crisp white, I have the perfect granite picked out, the backsplash would likely be a fun pattern in white, I’d do a farmhouse sink and the appliances would all get switched out to stainless {which I couldn’t stand 12 years ago … funny how taste can change eh?} I’d also change some of the layout to create a walk in pantry and a built in desk in the kitchen. It’s fun to dream, right?

I am drawn to the farmhouse look with a touch of industrial thrown in. I mean, I do <heart> Joanna Gaines after all but I don’t have a farmhouse. I have more of a tuscan style home. I’d love a farmhouse but that is a whole other investment. My kids are growing so fast and time is flying. I am so aware of that and how fleeting time is. I know that in 5 years, I will have one son graduating. WOW. Five years? For real. So if twelve years flew by then I can only imagine how fast 5 years will go. Then in 7 years, our second son will graduate. So I foresee lots of change after that and I don’t know exactly what that entails but I imagine it would mean downsizing. It’s so weird to think ahead like that but again, time is flying! I just don’t know that I want to sink money into this house when it isn’t our forever home. You never know though .. in a year I could completely switch gears and remodel all of it 😉

Here are some fabulous fines for kitchen redos. I’ve included links to the original source if there is one.

I love the open shelving in the kitchen at Our Vintage Home Love. The gray cabinets are fun too.

open-shelving

 

I love everything about The Sunny Side Up blog. Her kitchen looks so crisp with the white cabinets and of course has that farmhouse sink that I swoon over.

craftsman-style-kitchen

Pinterest is full of the good stuff. I can’t find the original source for this one but Wow. Look at all of this storage! I change out some of my glass front cabinets with the seasons. These would display my stuff {as well as store it} beautifully.

major-storage

Yellow Prairie Interiors knocked it out of the park with this kitchen. Barn door, chalkboard, huge pennant lights, sea grass barstools. I am kinda in love over here. Like googly eyed kinda love.

kitchen

 

Here is another Pinterest find without an original source link. I really like the wood beams and the framed windows. They just add a pop to the kitchen.

tumblr_nuzys2vnnl1s22wfjo1_500

I love organization. I mean really love it. There is such a sense of accomplishment if I can organize something. This pantry over at HGTV is all kinds of dreamy. Those shelves and baskets? Love.

hgtv

I really like this backsplash at Walker Zanger.

arabesque-tile

 

I really am a fan of hardwood floors. We have had them for 12 years and they are showing wear in some areas but they really are hardy and not hard on the feet like tile can be. Plus they don’t have that cold feeling. That being said, I know that I don’t love the color we chose. It is a bit golden brown for my current taste. People say the dark wood shows everything but I feel like my floors show everything. I think I’d pick something with less of a sheen though. That could help it from showing everything. I also really like the look of wide planks. This one over at HomeTalk is pretty perfect if you ask me.

hardwood-floors-timber-french-grey-recycled-oak-flooring-hardwood-floors-home-decor

So there you have it. An insight into what I would do if I were to remodel my kitchen. Thanks for stopping by. Hope your Sunday is fabulous.

Ramblings

Turning 40 was kinda big for me. Now I am 42 but seriously – 40 was pivotal. In a weird kinda way. I’ve always joked that if I live till I’m 80 and die in my sleep, then I have lived a good life. BUT then 40 became that 1/2 to 80 mark and it felt like I didn’t have enough time. Silly right? Because there are no guarantees and anything could happen to any of us at anytime and we really don’t get the final say so in when, where and how we leave this world. Still. It kinda felt like this change took over me. All of a sudden, life became more fragile. I have always been a bit of an old soul and felt that I could relate to people of all ages. I had this realization that no matter our age, we are still who we are.

Losing friends around my age to sudden heart attacks and seeing my dad pass away – these things changed me. Losing a parent is a deep, deep loss. All morning I have had a song in my head that my dad loved. It’s kinda strange. I heard it last week on the radio but I woke up with it on repeat in my head. What does that mean? Does it mean anything? I am not a religious girl but I’d like to believe that my dad is somewhere good surrounded by his loved ones. I’d like to think that he shows up in my life in silly ways such as music or the random squirrel appearances {my dad had a thing about feeding squirrels so now when I see them, I think of him}.

Sometimes life just feels heavy. The world feels heavy. Human kindness is sometimes lacking. But sometimes, it’s beautiful. Sometimes the news shares stories that literally crush me. Awful, violent stories of people hurting people. The stories of children being harmed completely crush my soul. Some of these things are just beyond comprehension. Why? How can people be so hateful and mean? It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s so easy to feel consumed by these stories and find fear in them happening to those you love the most. Having conversations with my kids about kidnappers and what to do should someone ever try and grab them. These are the conversations that break my heart. But it’s a part of our big scary world.

And the hate – don’t even get me started on that one. We are in an election year and boy are the haters out there. I have a rule, I don’t talk politics or religion with people Those conversations often get heated and ugly. I am not gonna change your mind and you aren’t gonna change mine. It’s a scary time though. I do feel that we need someone with kindness and compassion to rule this country – and maybe some humor. I think I’ll vote for Jimmy Fallon. Isn’t that an option? 😉 Kidding {sorta}.

As my grandpa would say, “Always keep your guard up”. He always said it as he waved both his arms in the air, I can still visualize it. I miss that man. See? Loss. It’s a tough one. Here come those tears that show up almost daily. The “I miss you” tears. They come and go at the most random times. They might show up for a second when I hear a certain song and then they are gone. I have pretty much resigned myself to wearing waterproof mascara. I have always been a crier. I wear my emotions – good, bad and ugly. So with that being said, I am not an Eeyore. I laugh. A lot. Life is full of good. It really is. I just feel every.single.emotion very deeply. If you know me then you are very aware of this. I cry, I laugh, I use sarcasm and cuss words to express myself. Sometimes I just have to have an emotional outburst {not in public – usually on the phone with a friend – thank you Stacie and Lisa}, to clear my mental space of whatever is consuming it. It’s like an emotional purge.

So my brain is often on emotional overload and I am always talking myself off the ledge. What I mean by this is that I am always trying to push away the worrying of the ‘what if’s’ in life. I am really an optimistic, glass half full kind of girl but people – there are clowns terrorizing our world! They are threatening schools and making children afraid. These are the issues that we could use a lot less of. Seriously, clowns. This has been a big topic with schools even sending home emails to parents about it. Sigh. Can’t we all just be nice and get along and not scare the crap out of people? I guess diversity is what makes the world go round but at this moment, I am burned out on the negative diversity. How about you?

I know that I haven’t been here in awhile and I always vow to write more. This post is obviously a bit raw and real but I just kinda needed to put it out there. Don’t worry, I will be back to decor and recipes soon enough! Thanks for listening.

Valentines Day Fun

Well hello February. I’ve found several awesome ideas for Valentines. Maybe it’s because this is the last year of elementary school for my youngest but I am feeling super nostalgic. I really want to soak up this last bit of parties. This is a holiday that I try and make extra special. I don’t typically do the store bought cards but instead I find something fun via the web (hello Pinterest). There are so many fabulous ideas – some food related, some not. I also found some fun decor. Read on for my favorite 5 treats to share and decorations that inspire.

Creations by Kara is offering up laughs with this fun Valentine.

Laffy-Taffy-Classroom-Valentine-Idea-044-2-625x885

Catch my Party created these ‘smart’ Valentines.

smartie-2-580x773

My Name is Snickerdoodle came up with this Kool idea.

Kool Valentine-1001

It’s Always Autumn used Starbursts in her Valentines. This one is on my ‘make’ list for sure.

valentines-cards-star-cute-printable-easy-diy-kids

These sweet heart magnets over at The Connections We Share are a sweet, non foodie treat.

valentines-day-kids-crafts-heart-magnets

Now moving on to my 5 fave decor ideas.

I am loving this little tree of hearts over at Simply + Kierste.

valentine-tree-6-2-650x981

If you follow me then you know that I am a HUGE fan of printables. I love this one at The Cake Blog.

love_is_like_butter_5

DIY Beautify created this sweet heart pallet board.

painted-heart-on-diy-pallet

Lux and Lace shared this neutral burlap LOVE pennant.

love-burlap-bunting-wedding

This heart shaped wreath over at Bower Power Blog is unique. I love how they used grey yarn instead of pink, red or white which are so traditional in Valentines decor.

IMG_5200b_zps87b94c05

I hope you enjoyed some of my favorite Valentines finds. If you’d like to see all of the LOVEly things I’ve pinned for this super sweet holiday, click here and you can visit my Valentines Pinterest Board. I hope your February is sweet.

My Addiction …. To Fixer Upper

First off, Hello! My Mac Book was on the fritz for months. It was sloooooow which made me very unmotivated to use it and then it just broke. But I was too busy to deal with it. I hosted my annual craft fair, my sister got married, I was in charge of the wedding decor {which was so much fun}, then the holidays and having houseguests plus hosting the holidays came around. I put the very idea of fixing my computer on the back burner. I knew it needed a new hard drive. Thankfully the stuff was salvaged on my old one. Replacing the hard drive and backing up the old one cost me 1/3 of what a new one would have cost and this thing is running like a dream. I am thrilled. Big thanks to Cody at Staples for making it happen. Seriously. I had a crush on him for a day cause he was so awesome. Now on to more important things.

I have a confession, I might be addicted to Fixer Upper. I am guessing most of you that read this will know exactly what that means but in case you are a little out of the loop, Fixer Upper is the hit HGTV show featuring the power couple, Chip & Joanna Gaines. They are this super team that redo old houses in Waco, Texas. They also have 4 young children, own a farm, a store, a bed and breakfast and are opening a bakery. The list seriously keeps growing {I am convinced that they never sleep} but if you watch their show, you will love them. They are adorable. They are artists. So I love them. I have an addiction. My Magnolia t-shirt and hat have been ordered. The addiction is real people.

So why has this show become such a hit? Well first off, they do a lot of remodeling at a super good price point. Obviously a lot of this is location and availibility. They are super talented in how they rework old homes and make them new again. Joanna also has the ability to decorate using old and new but without anything feeling overly fussy. The homes look clean, simple and homey when they are done. All of these are features that suck me right in.

Over the years, I have painted. A LOT {that is a whole other addiction – I don’t have time to count the amount of layers of paint in my house right now. I’ll save that for another post}. What I always come back to is neutral colors. I love adding color but I like to do it via accessories and not paint. I think because I have really realized that with my own style, I am especially drawn to the show. Another design element that I am loving as of late is the rustic/farmhouse/industrial look. I love how all of these elements can be pulled together and look like they actually belong together.

Our house is 11.5 years old. We are the original owners. We picked decent upgrades BUT I would love a refresh. Of course what I want and what we need are two very different things but hey, I’m a thinker so I have ideas. We have hardwood throughout most of the downstairs. It’s a light maple. I don’t like it but there is nothing wrong with it so it stays. We have cream cabinets and granite that is on the darker side. I want white cabinets with a much lighter granite. I want hardwood that is a very different color and style. I want to paint everything grey. Again, it’s a want. I’d completely reconfigure my kitchen. Seriously. But financially it doesn’t make sense and we have other priorities.

What I do get to do is a room redo. We have a small front room. It was shown in the model as a formal living room. That’s how it started for us but we really didn’t utilize it as that. Then it was an office that was more for looks and I didn’t use it as I have a thing with doing all crafts and computer work at my kitchen island. I like to be in the hub of the house. About 18 months ago, we converted it to a kids space. We used to have a play room but the kids out grew the space and we wanted a guest room. Well, now it’s a game room of sorts for the kids. They have a TV and an X Box but it’s open to the rest of the house. Its become my project now that the holidays have passed {I always need a project to pull me through the after Christmas let down when I am sad cause my family all goes back home.}

I worked hard to condense my craft supplies and sold a large bookcase as I launched myself into this redo. This space currently holds a tv stand, small bookcase, cheap futon and 2 large dog crates. It has carpet that we hate and the next project is to install hardwood which will match our existing hardwood. I painted the room over the weekend. The color that I have in most of my house is called Faded Burlap by Valspar. I love this color. It’s a creamy beige that doesn’t seem to have pink or yellow undertones. It’s perfect. Click here to see a sample. The dog crates are there to stay as we have 2 big dogs that sleep inside but they have to be crated at night. I’d like to add a couch and a chair or two but I want to hide the crates behind the couch. I will probably repaint the TV stand as we need that for storage for the game console and TV. I also hope to repaint the bookcase and steal a matching bookcase from my son’s room. I am thinking of putting them together and adding a top to make them look like they are one piece. Another thing I’d LOVE to do is install barn doors going into the space. It’s wide open and loud when the kids are playing, especially when they have friends over. I also want to encourage them to have friends over as they get older so I am hoping that by giving this space some privacy, they kids will want to be here, Does that make sense? Also, if we have friends over, the kids can have a hang out space while the grown ups hang in the family room and kitchen. We don’t want them to have TV’s in their room so this is the solution.

Now on to the fun stuff .. the style I have in mind is very much Fixer Upper. I guess I should tell my husband that I want barn doors now eh? 😉 At least I am not asking for shiplap.

My inspiration mostly comes from HGTV and Pinterest. I also find myself drooling over Instagram photos.

 

763

barn doors – source

 

BP_HFXUP206H_Gulley_living-room_AFTER_160404_503237.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.853

color scheme – source

069e1159eae8ba3a7cea4373fce72c64

Jenga on display – source

domino

giant dominos – source

IMG_9561

sign and gallery wall – source

PLAY Pillows

pillows – source

So long story long, I {heart} Fixer Upper.