My Super 7 Aha Moments at Haven 2013!

My 7 Aha Moments Haven 2013Remember when I was talking about going to Haven 2013.  And how I was hoping to make some new bloggie friends.   And how I was hoping my brain would hum with information overload.  And I was hoping to be awestruck by all the creativity and positive energy.  Guess what?  All my hopes came true.

I did meet some amazing women who are now friends and I share about them here.  Brain humming?  Check.  There was a crazy amount of genius over two days!

My Super 7 Aha Moments at Haven 2013!

I learned sooooo many things about blogging, creating, and inspiring that there is no way I can capture all the nuggets of goodness in one writing.  And yet I’ll try to share a few things that touched me.

1.  “No way.  No how.  I couldn’t successfully blog without the love and support of Mr. Rosey and our Girlies.”Haven Love Note from MandC

For four days, Mr. Rosey kept the kiddos alive and held down the fort.  Whoot~whoot!  This may seem trivial.  But really, any parent who normally doesn’t stay home with kids quickly comes to learn that it’s no easy task to be the chef, cruise director, referee, cheerleader, comforter, medic, hair stylist (try to comb hair into a ponytail if you never do it), chauffeur, arbitrator, chief picker upper and more.  It was good for the three of them to hang out together for the weekend.  It was great for me to go to Haven.  (I adore the love note the Girlies texted me.)  And it was awesome to come home!

2.  “Be really good at one thing and good enough with everything else.”

Friday morning kicked off with the inspiring Ana White.  If you’ve never been to Ana’s blog, go!  She designs and builds furniture and shares her knowledge on her blog.  Her presentation was to be your best self.  Be original.  Don’t worry about all the other stuff.  (Whew!  I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about all the other stuff.)  “The tortoise wins, not the hare.  Spend 100% of your blogging time on good content.  Post good content and the readers will find you.”  Wow!  So true.  You found me.  Thank you!

3.  “I must move Our Rosey Life to be a self-hosted blog!”

I had a mild panic attack when the rock star, Karianne of Thistlewood Farms, shared her “must haves for a basic blog design”.  Huge!!  The wheels are already rolling on this one and no worries.  The panic attack has subsided.  For my readers, moving to a self-hosted blog means an even better experience for you!  Can’t beat that.  This will be a learning process for me and won’t happen overnight.  And for sure, hang on, because it’ll be a fun ride.  How do I ever thank Karianne for her brilliance and then sharing her brilliance?

4.  “Natural light is my friend.”

It’s such a simple idea.  Little Miss Sunshine is the best for getting the best picture.  This tip came from Photographing Projects and Rooms with Kristin Duke of Capturing Joy.  I love this gal.  She gave us lots of advice on staging a photo, tools she uses to stage, camera equipment needs, camera angles, camera settings, how to create natural light when there is none.  Find the best window (or maybe it’s an open door) in your home with natural light and that’s the best spot to take pictures.  Simple.  Right?  She shares all of her notes from class here.  She also has two books about photography, which have been added to my birthday wish list.  All her tips will work for you too.  Check them out.  Awesome!

5.  “Find your own style!”

Chalk & Milk Paint BoardsI took this uber cool painting technique class by Marion from Miss Mustard Seed and Shauna from Perfectly Imperfect.  We played with milk paint and chalk paint.  Candace at Vintage News Junkie did a great post on the How Tos and What Fors.  Check it out.  Besides all the tips and techniques, one of the best things they said was to find your own style.  Create your own furniture painting signature.  Personally, I think copies are flattering and original is best.  I can’t wait to play with paint and find my own style.  Isn’t that what we’re all hoping to do?  Create our own style and make our home special and unique?

6.  “I can use a power tool (and not kill myself).”

At Woodworking 101, the fabulous folks at Ryobi Tools and Kreg Tool Company explained the basics of working with wood and then gave us a chance to try out a bunch of power tools – drill, impact driver, saws… so cool for me to do this, because I was nervous.  I can’t wait to buy our first power tools and get building something.

7.  “Don’t wear bling on your shirt if you plan to fly.”

Bling TshirtWhat?  I’m sure you’re wondering.  When I was going through O’Hare airport security, everyone did the full body scan.  No big deal.  After my full body scan, I tried to scoot through to get my shoes cuz I’m a little skeeved that my bare feet were touching the dirty floor.  And the TSA lady stops me and says she needs to pat me down.  Whaaat?  And then she points to the bling on my shirt.  “Your do dads on your shirt set off the machine.  I need to pat you down.”  So I let the TSA lady do a pat down and then a hand swipe for bomb residue.  By the way… the only residue they found on my hands was cream cheese from my bagel at breakfast.  True story.  Who knew?

The sky is the limit and it applies to everything you and I do in life.  Really, we are all limited by our own boundaries we set for ourselves.  I need to follow my passion.  Do what I love.  Find my happiness.  The sky IS the limit and it’s up to me.

So will I go to Haven 2014?  You betcha!  And I hope you go too and we have a chance to meet.

More bloggers share their stories about Haven 2013 here.  Check them out!  There is some awesomeness happening.


Special Someones – My Haven Conference Experience

Sand Heart HavenDo you remember your first day of school as a high school Freshman?  I remember.  I was nervous…and excited.

The night before my first day, I remember spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to wear.  I lived in Arizona at the time, so it was HOT.  Do I wear a sundress?  No, that’s not right.  Jeans?  No way, sweaty mess.  Shorts?  Yeah, I think shorts is good.  Maybe the pink shorts?  Yeah… pink is good.  Whew!  I have the bottoms figured out.  Now what about a top?  Oh my…Backpack, Folders, Pencils

Is my backpack ready to go?  Notebooks?  Check.  Pencils?  Check.  Class schedule?  Yep.  As I’m digging through my backpack, I wonder who’s going to be in my class?  Will anyone be my friend?  Who will I sit with at lunch?  I’m the new girl.

As with most high schools, several middle schools fed into the high school.  Same for me, except my family had just moved to Arizona and I knew no one.  Not a soul.  I was nervous and then I remembered that no one knew that I didn’t know anyone.  I knew a lot of people would know someone, but no one would know everyone.  There would be a lot of someones and anyones and everyones, but we’d all be new ones to someone.

Are you with me?

Fast forward to my Freshman year of Haven.  Haven 2013.  I’m wearing my cute purple maxi sundress.  Got my tote bag?  Check.  Enough business cards?  Check.  Fun pink lip gloss. Yep.  Wearing a smile?  Sorta.Purple Maxi Dress

And I step onto the Japanese garden for the kickoff cocktail party and there is a sea of new faces.  An ocean of beautiful women… smiling… chatting… cocktailing.  (Cocktailing: Verb | meaning holding a festive drink while smiling and chatting).  There was music and lots of cocktailing.

And off I go.  The new girl.  Hoping to meet everyone or someone or anyone and certainly not no one.

And I did… meet some special someones… while cocktailing and in class and at lunch and eating dinner… who are now a few of my new bloggie friends.

I didn’t take many pictures (I’ve no idea why.), so click on the link to read more about a few of the special someones I met during Haven 2013.  Actually, they are more than special.  They are aaaamazing!  I had a great Haven Freshman experience and I can’t wait until my Sophomore year!

My First Blog Conference… Ever

The Haven (south haven)You aren’t going to believe it.  I can’t believe it either.  Take a breath…

I’m going to my first blog conference.  Yep.  It’s true.

I’m excited.  I’m nervous.  But I’m much more excited.  I’m ready to learn so many new things that my brain will start to hum from information overload (or is that the bubbly?).  I hope I’ll make some new bloggie friends.  I know I’ll laugh and cry, because I’m laughing so hard (with my new bloggie friends).  I can’t wait to be awestruck by all the creativity and positive energy.  I’m sure so many amazing things will happen that I can’t even begin to imagine at this point in time.

In one day… I’m going to my first blog conference.  And not just any conference.  I’m going to Haven in Atlanta, Georgia.

I know.  I’m still pinching myself.

If you’ve never heard of Haven, its tagline is “because there’s no place like home”.  How cool is that?  And don’t you believe it too?  There IS no place like home.Rainbow over gazebo

Haven brings together like-minded DIYers and interior design bloggers who like to  build window seats or paint furniture or sew window treatments or accessorize a bookcase… anything to make a house your own special home.  Doesn’t that sound awesome?  A group of people who love their home and want to make it beautiful and uniquely theirs come together to learn and share ideas.  Sweet!

Ok.  Ok.  I know you’re wondering “Why the heck is Michele going to Haven though?”  She’s never used a drill or a saw or any sort of power tool.  She’s never painted a piece of furniture and she took home ec about a million gazillion years ago, which means she hasn’t sewn a stitch in that long too.  Ok.  Fair point, but…

Can you keep a secret?  Shhh…  I’ll tell you.

I want to learn.  There.  I said it.  I want to LEARN!

As Big Sis M says “Mom you’re the best cooker!”  Well I wasn’t always the best cooker, but I learned.  I took classes.  I practiced.  I burned a few pot roasts.  And I learned.  I want to learn how to use a sander.  I really want to learn how to use a drill, because those things kinda scare me.  I want to paint a piece of furniture and have it stand beautifully in our home.  I want to look around my home and spy the extra special things I did to make our home the best place for Mr. Rosey, the Girlies and me.  More sweet!  Right?

But wait…there’s more.  There will be classes on how to make this rosey little blog a bloomin’ garden of roses.  Yep.  Our Rosey Life will be coming up roses… or something like that.  I’m just so giddy like when the Girlies walk into a candy store… eyes wide open and smiling.Chocolate cupcake

So that’s the good news.  I’m going to my first blog conference this weekend and I can’t wait!  And do you want to know about the icing on top of the cake (I’m staying with the sweet theme here)?  I’ll bring back all the creative goodness I learn and share it with you too.  I’ll post pictures to over the weekend, if you want some sneak peaks.

Friendship and Inspiration

Our Beach FeetHave you ever walked into a room of people and you don’t know a soul? Some folks are totally comfortable with that. Not me. I’m pretty much a shy sort of gal, but always trying to break out of my shy mold.

A few weeks back, I came across some information about the Midwest Meet Up hosted by Jennifer Rizzo.  I was wondering “What is this?”  Are you wondering too?

Well, let me explain.  It’s a casual get together for midwestern bloggers.  Coffee, munchies and girl talk.

Hmmm…. This could be fun.  Should I go?  My shy self was saying “Let’s not.” but another part of me was saying “Bring it on girlfriend!”

After hemming and hawing, I chose to register and go.  “Way to go girl!”, bring-it-on-girlfriend side said with a few good fist pumps in the air.

“Whoa Nelly!” my shy side said, as she pouted and stomped her foot.

My bring-it-on-girlfriend side said to my shy side “Let’s see if our sister, Mary Colleen, wants to join us.  Even if the Meet Up is a bust, we get to spend the day with our sister.  That’s always grand.”   Shy side agreed, because there would be a friendly face in a crowd of strangers and our sister is grand.

Now reverse to the beginning of this tale.  Imagine walking into a room of strangers. Everyone is seated in a circle and eating muffins and sipping coffee. (I assume it’s coffee sipping but who knows.  It could have been wine tasting at 10am, but probably not.)  Are you imagining it?2 beach chairs

I see my sister seated next to an empty chair.  “Whew!  There’s Mary Colleen.  Double whew!  There’s an open chair next to her.” thought my shy side.  And I slid into my seat.

Well can I just tell you, we errr… I mean, I had the nicest time at the Midwest Meet Up.  Strangers I mean, bloggers in the midwest are just the nicest people.  Each person’s story and reason for blogging was inspiring and motivating for me.

As I was babbling about why I blog, because the shy side of me didn’t know what to say, the bring-it-on-girlfriend side of me said “I love the creative process of blogging.”  Well yes that’s true.  “And I want to continue to develop my blog and its content and challenge myself to be creative.”  Amen sister!  I didn’t share a great and hilarious story about chasing robbers like KariAnne at Thistlewood Farms or climbing fountains like Lynda at Oh So Shabby, but that’s ok.  I’ll share one of those stories next time.

Cruise Beach Umbrella SkyI learned some things from this inspiring group of women.  I need business cards.  Not the boring ones I used to have in the corporate world, but pretty ones.  Yay!  You get an adorable bag of cool swag.  I can paint a dresser in my kitchen, because chalk paint doesn’t have fumes.  The Haven is a conference worth checking out and still register, because more tickets will become available, so I did.  I need to watermark my pictures.  I should dot com my blog and add ads.  And the list goes on.  But most importantly, I learned bloggers are a kind of sisterhood made of friendship and support!  Woohoo!

I learned there’s a whole lot I still gotta learn, but I’m excited.

I’m inspired.

I want to inspire.

The sky’s the limit!

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.  ~ Anais Nin

40 Bags in 40 Days – My Lenten Commitment

DSC00152It’s winter and the Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday.  I’ve been thinking about what I want to do or not do for Lent this year.  For those who may not know, Lent is the 40 day period before Easter and reminds us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.  Lent is about prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving all in preparation for the Easter celebration.

As a child, I would give up something each year as my way of sacrifice – television, (That was really hard, because no one else in my family did it with me.) chocolate, soda, etc.  With a child’s perspective, I didn’t think giving up tv or soda was positive, when in fact it was.  So as a teenager, I started trying to do something that was hard and positive.  In my mind,  making my bed every morning, emptying the dishwasher every time, washing all our family’s clothes for 40 days was positive.  I felt like I was doing something good and it was hard for my teenage self.  Now as an adult, I can see how giving up and doing something positive and hard are all similar shades of Lenten commitment.

I recently came across the concept of 40 Bags in 40 Days on The Larson Lingo blog.  I’d never heard of 40 bags before and started to do some research and found a lot of people loading up 40 bags for 40 days.  Then I found more information on the Simply Catholic site.  Hmmm…. I kept thinking and wondering… Could this be my Lenten commitment this year?  Can I do this?  I’d sure like to do this.  Hmmm…. more pondering.

What is 40 Bags in 40 Days all about?  For 40 days during Lent, I’d clear out, throw out, organize and donate 40 bags of stuff that I don’t need in my house or in my life.  M-a-j-o-r spring clean. The idea is to sacrifice some time to de-clutter my home, de-clutter my mind (because I’m not looking at the pile of stuff on my desk and wishing it would organize itself), and donate what’s worthy to charity and open some space in my mind and heart for prayer.  Sacrifice.  Almsgiving.  Prayer.  Yes, I’m still pondering.  Are you, too?  Pondering I mean.

DSC03148How do I make this Lenten commitment successful for me?  I’m a list girl.  Yes, I know.  Shocking.  I made a list of areas to tackle like 1) laundry room  2) linen closet  3) junk drawer, etc.   I would clean until I reach 40 days and 40 bags.  I tried to make my list realistic, by only listing 31 things, so I can add more time if needed for a certain spot.  Plus spring break also falls during Lent and we’ll be out of town.  Ya know, I can’t clean my freezer when I’m in a different state.  My list is manageable and achievable (I hope), because I’m motivated and these spots are driving me coo coo.  Very coo coo.  But I know life happens…The kids get sick, Mr. Rosey is out of town, so I sleep poorly and I’m pooped the next day, I have a ton of laundry to do…  you get the idea.  I will give myself some grace.  I will give myself some space to do what inspires me that day.  The point is to keep working to de-clutter… to open space in my home, mind and heart.

Commit!  I do think I can focus over the Lenten season and get rid of stuff we don’t need.  De-clutter.  Simplify.  Donate.  Breathe.  Pray.  Rejoice.  It would be great if someone else wants to do this with me.  Are you still pondering?  Wouldn’t it be fun if we could tackle both our homes together?   To support, to share.  I’m hoping Mr. Rosey and the Girlies might jump in and help a little bit too.  So that’s my plan for Lent – starting today it’s 40 bags in 40 days.  Goodbye junk.  Hello Easter.

Unravelling My Year Ahead – 2013

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

To be honest, I’m feeling blue today.  I think it’s Christmas withdrawal.  I work very hard to create a magical Christmas season for our family, which I love doing, and then poof… it’s over in a day.  Now I’m putting the Christmas magic back in boxes.  I’m feeling blue.  I think it’s because I know Mr. Rosey will be going back to work on Wednesday and I really like having him home.  I really do.  Even when he’s working from home, I can walk into the office and just…be…in the same space with him.  When he’s working downtown, I can’t just pop in and be with him.  I’m feeling blue.  I think it’s because today is a gray day.  We have a lot of those during the winter months in Chicagoland…. gray…gray…gray and cold…cold…cold.  A little happy snow would be nice.

It is hard for me to believe the end of twenty twelve is upon me.  I don’t know how I would describe last year.  There were certainly many times to rejoice and tomorrow I will share my list of Bests, Firsts and Favorites from 2012.  The Girlies helped me put the list together.  Yes, there were many times to be joyful.  And yet, there were times with frustration, anger, disappointment and sadness for me.  And many more just everyday days.  I suppose that’s a typical year – one filled with highs, lows and middles.

As I was looking to focus on something positive and inspiring for the new year, I came upon this wonderful workbook – Unravelling the Year Ahead 2013 by Susannah Conway.  Her “How to Use this Workbook” page makes me want to jump in.  Beverage of choice, music, doodles, honesty, possibility…Hallelujah sister!DSC02754

She’s created a marvelous workbook to think about… wonder about… imagine… and write down my dreams, hopes, wishes, goals, and beliefs for me in the new year.  What about you?  What do you hope for in 2013?  For me, the first steps in making a dream a reality is to brainstorm, write it down and make a plan.  The process of unravelling will be positive, motivating and uplifting for me.DSC02755

I thought I would sit down tonight, with a little glass of bubbly, after the Girlies go to bed and probably tomorrow while watching college bowl games and complete my workbook.  It looks like a wonderfully special way to close out 2012 and say hello to 2013.  What could be better than dreams, hopes, goals and inspiration for me, my family, my life?  A new day is dawning tomorrow and it’s called twenty thirteen.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

If you want to check out her workbook – Unravelling the Year Ahead 2013, click here.  And oh yes.  It’s free.  What a gift to give yourself!