Apr 23, 2014

How To Make a Gallery Wall

Oh, gallery walls, how I love thee. I love their mix-matched cohesiveness, and how it can totally bring a room together. When I was thinking about Julia's nursery, a gallery wall was never on my horizon, but then I kept finding things I wanted to put in her room. Unfortunately, I didn't really have a place for them. That's when a gallery wall popped into my head as the perfect solution.

What wasn't so brilliant was trying to actually make the gallery happen. We had a fresh coat of pain on the wall and I really didn't want to go making unnecessary holes everywhere. Unfortunately, I'm a visual person, so I couldn't just imagine what everything would look like hung up; I had to figure out a way to literally visualize the wall.

I'm sure I found this idea on Pinterest, but it was genius and worked perfectly. I took all the items I wanted up on the wall and traced them onto paper. I even went a tiny step further and used somewhat colored shades of paper to represent the different colors I had for frames and things (I didn't want three pinks right next to each other, for example).

How to Make a Gallery Wall
The photo above was only step one; I changed it up a few times after I snapped that pic. Once I had things where I thought I wanted them, I'd take a step back and make sure it looked good. I also left it up for a day or so to make sure I really liked it. Then, once I was sure it was good to go, I summoned my husband to start poking some holes.

Here's what it looks like today:

Nursery Gallery Wall

Nursery Gallery Wall

Nursery Gallery Wall

Nursery Gallery Wall

Nursery Gallery Wall

Nursery Gallery Wall

The end result makes me happy. I like that Julia even notices the pictures on the wall; she'll point to them while we're changing her. I also have a perfect view of the wall when I nurse her, and I love seeing the different stages of her life. The only problem I have now is where to squeeze in new pictures!

Apr 21, 2014

Talking Date {v.2}

So many things on my mind, so little time to jot them all down. Actually, jotting is exactly what I've been doing in my little "notes" app on my iPhone. I type in little phrases to remind me about what I want to write. For example...

+ We finally had our family pictures taken and I'm IN LOVE WITH THEM. I open up the teasers at least once a day just to look at them. They make me very, very happy. Now I'm trying to decide where I want to put them around the house. I'm also debating if I want to bother sending cards out to people. They were supposed to be our traditional belated Christmas cards, but seeing as how they won't get out until May, makes me think they're a little too belated at this point. Plus, the card sites don't exactly have "Happy Summer" photo card deals. (They totally should, by the way.)

+ We are possibly the only parents in America who didn't get their kid an Easter basket yesterday. We didn't see the point in it, honestly. She has plenty of toys, she doesn't eat candy, there's no need for us to spend money on something that she doesn't understand, plus, both sets of grandparents spoil her rotten even from far away. We're also horrible parents for not getting her anything for Christmas or her birthday, either. Again, no need for those celebrations yet, either. Don't you worry, we'll jump on the bandwagon for this coming Christmas...we're not complete Scrooges.

+ Speaking of Julia, she's going through a crazy phase. She used to be an awesome eater, but now she hardly wants to touch food, especially when we're sitting at a table. This didn't go over so well while we were out of town and didn't have the luxury of dining in the privacy of our own home. Thankfully we made it out of each restaurant in one piece, but boy is she learning to test our limits!

+ I'm picking up my DSLR again and I love it. I seem to go through phases were I want to use it all the time, and other times where I literally hide it from myself because I get overwhelmed. I want to be better than I am, and I get frustrated that I'm not that good. Then I just get lazy and use the convenience of my phone. It's a vicious cycle.

+ And now, speaking of my phone...it's kicking the bucket. I've had it for less than a year and I'm going to have to buy a new one. Stupid self for dropping it in water. Also, interesting tidbit: the town we live in sucks the battery life out of my phone. On any given day, I have to charge it at least twice to get it up past 30% (and that's with not even using it all that much—I don't even play any games on it!), but when we were in Savannah, it never got below 70%. Therefore, this town sucks...literally.

+ Do you use TripAdvisor.com? I was really good about reviewing places when we lived in Europe, and I'm getting back into the swing of things now that we're traveling more here. I just made it to their "senior contributor" badge and feel like giving myself a pat on the back! 

Now for some links I love (all links open into a new tab):

Did you miss any of my posts? (Shameless plugs)

Okay, that's all from me today. I hope you're having a happy Monday!

Apr 20, 2014

This Week's Eats {april 20}

Hey, y'all, sorry this is up late today. It is Easter, though, so hopefully you spent your time celebrating this joyful day with family.

We just got back from a weekend in Savannah, and I managed to stay off my computer the whole time. Go me! Our trip was good, but don't expect to see any pretty pictures of the city from this trip, because it rained the whole time. Thank goodness we've been there before so I didn't miss out on seeing anything. We walked around a lot and ate some really good food, so keep an eye out for some of those in my local eats series.

Now to the nitty gritty. We made our menu on the way home and it's basically a way to get back into paleo. Whenever we go on a trip we cheat, not that you can blame us since there's delicious food to try, but it's time to get back into the swing of things.

What we're cooking this week:
(no chalkboard for this post, because I'm too lazy to go write it on there now.)

Monday: Stuffed peppers and rice (ground beef with taco seasoning, diced tomatoes, extra onions and bell peppers mixed in, and some sort of rice pilaf)

Tuesday: stew (with rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, and celery root as the veggies)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: grilled fish with veggies and avocado mango salsa

Friday: deconstructed burgers and sweet potato fries (y'all, these fries rock my socks off. I make up my own seasoning, though...hers are wicked spicy)
Jessica Lynn Writes

What are you cooking up this week?

Apr 18, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

I've seen this "tour" floating around lately and thought it was pretty cool to read some insight into how other writers see their work. So when Melissa, from Marrying the Army, asked if she could tag me in the tour, I happily obliged. I'm tagging Callie from This Glorious Maze and Erika from Chambanachik, so bookmark them, and check out what they have to say about their writing process in the coming days.

My Writing Process:
What am I working on?
I'm working on working. I've applied for some writing jobs, so now I'm in the twiddling-my-thumbs stage while I wait to hear back. I'm also trying not to bite off more than I can chew; I know I'm just starting to get back into the swing of things, so I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much. It's all about baby steps as I ease back into this.

As for this blog, I have a long list of topic ideas, and I'm slowly crossing them off. I have 10 drafts in my folder right now, and most of them just need photos, before I can publish them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  
When I write, whether it's on this blog for for a paid piece, I try making sure my voice is present. The thing is, it's the voice inside my head—it's the way I think, not necessarily speak. Sometimes when I talk, my words come out jumbled; I get hung up on silly things like how to pronounce words or whether I'm saying the right thing, but writing is freeing for me. My fingers type exactly what I'm thinking, and if things get mixed up, I just have to press delete and start over.

I like writing in a lighthearted and casual tone, like you're reading something from a close friend. My hope is that I captivate the reader with a conversation-like writing style, and my goal is to keep them intrigued long enough to read the entire piece. I also like to incorporate pertinent information, that a client typically requests, in a manner that doesn't feel forced or boring.

Why do I write what I do?
I've never been a fan of hard core journalism; it's just not my cup of tea. There are so many bad things happening in the world today, and it's all splashed on the front page of every paper and the headline of every newscast. I prefer writing those "fluff" pieces, if you will.

I like writing about restaurants, because I enjoy trying new places and eating good food. I like interviewing people, because everyone has something interesting to say and others need to hear their stories. I like writing about travel, because it's fun to distance yourself from reality for a bit and dream about what else is out there. I like writing about parenting, because I have experiences to share. Basically, I like writing about what I know, and these "fluff" topics are things I know a lot about. There's enough hard news out there—the world could use a little more fluff.

How does my writing process work? 
For this blog, I work best when I have a plan. I've really enjoyed making myself figure out topic ideas ahead of time and going from there. Of course, things come up (like Julia's recent adventure), and I just go with it. I love working in the mornings and/or at cafes where I can be alone with my thoughts. I usually have a topic in mind and then I just start writing. When an idea's in my head, the words just come to me. For longer pieces, I'll usually let it sit for a day or two (or a week or so) and then come back to it and tweak things. I should let each post sit for at least a day and then review it, but that doesn't always happen. The longest part of the process is actually finding photos to include; I hate not having a picture to go along with a post.

If it's a paid piece I do things a little differently. Once I have the topic, I write it the way I'd normally write (doing research about the subject ahead of time). I make sure I have all the key points I need to address on a piece of paper next to me, and as I include them as naturally as possible, I check them off the list. Then, I don't touch the piece for several hours or at least a day (if I have the time). I reread it and have an extra pair of eyes go over it (99 times out of 100 it's my husband who does that). I usually change a few more things and then either press "publish" or send it to wherever it needs to go.


Now you have a little peek into my writing style. I'd love to hear how you manage your writing process, so feel free to leave your answers in the comments!