Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finding inspiration in my life

Photo by Jessi LaRue
I've been thinking back to just a month ago in my life, about how frustrated and lackluster I felt. Since then, I've made so many changes, some bigger than others. I changed jobs. I listen to more music, and I write more often. 

There's also been some things that have brought that "inspired" feeling back into my life:
- Walking to and from work daily
- The Wonder Woman movie
- A late night drive while blasting '90s alternative rock hits
- Playing with 15 dogs (at once!) at my new job
- Interviewing a couple that is so in love and planning their wedding
- A friendly wave from a neighbor in the morning
- The dedication of a historical marker recognizing my 4th great uncle
- My cat falling asleep on my lap during my lunch hour
- Conversations with my friend and mentor
- Every minute of family time that I can get

Where have you found inspiration?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Songs I'm Lovin' - May 2017

Photo by Jessi LaRue
It's been a while since I've created a "Songs I'm Lovin'" I decided to get one posted just before this month ends.

This playlist features a little bit of everything; as usual, it's heavy in country, but this also features some fun tunes from the Cyrus girls. I'll always be a fan of that family.

Check out my current favorite tunes below, and let me know in the comments: what are you listening to right now?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Making changes

Photo by Jessi LaRue
Recently I had some sort of "breakthrough" in my life. 

I was frustrated, I was sad, and I felt unfulfilled.

Unfortunately, I never realize these things as they start to creep up on me. Instead, everything has to come crashing down on me for me to see it. And it's the worst feeling, yet it always pushes me to produce some big results.

So last Sunday night, as I sat on my bedroom floor crying, wondering how I was going to fix these frustrated feelings surrounding my life, it hit me. It's time to make myself happy. It was so simple, and so obvious, but I had to actually stop and take time to evaluate myself.

Once I did, I knew exactly what I needed.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and tried to find that happiness. I got a new job, which I'll start next week. My sister and I recently had a long, healthy talk about anything and everything in our lives. My husband and I sat down and evaluated our priorities, our plans and our dreams.

And when the dust settled from all these changes (I tend to work quickly,) I took a deep breath and realized that the rush of chaos I just put myself through worked. I felt better already.

So I'm making some changes in my life, and I can only hope that it's all for the better.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


I've been unhappy for a while.

Eh, maybe that's misleading.

As a whole, I'm happy. I love my family, my husband, the projects I've taken on in my life. But when I think about the nitty-gritty of my life, the "who I am" at the end of the day, I feel truly unsatisfied.

I feel off. I don't feel like myself. I don't feel as proud, excited, or intuitive as I've felt previously. This is typically a feeling that pops up during the winter, but now it's May and today hit 85 degrees...and I still feel unhappy.

I can't pinpoint it exactly. I just feel like something in my life is lacking, and I'm not exactly sure what to do about it right now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A mother's love

Every year I try to put my love for my mother into words, and every year I come up short.

The recent "big moves" in my life, which include getting married and buying a house, have made me realize how important my mom is to me. When I think about all the times she has been there in the last few years alone, it astonishes me. She's always there to offer advice or a helping hand. It makes me regret some of those "growing pains" teenage years I had, where sometimes it felt like she was my sworn enemy.

But the older I get, the more I realize that I am so beyond lucky to have her. And the older I get, the more I realize that I am becoming so much like her. I can only hope that I will be half as caring, devoted, and loving as her. 

My mother's love is what keeps me sane, it's what keeps me driven, and it's what makes me want to be the best person I can. Because I want to be like her, and I want to make her proud.

So once again, I tried to put into words how much my mom means to me, and I'm coming up short. I can't put a number on just how many times she's been there for me and my husband. I can't even imagine listing off all the titles she's held, and all the roles she's played, in developing my life into something amazing. I simply can't explain how much I appreciate having her in my life.

Happy Mother's Day, Momma. I can't thank you enough.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Home Decor: Thrifting finds

Another week, another couple of days spent finding cute, quirky items for the home.

These items came from a few fun places!

This cute shelf (roosters not included)
I occasionally get to travel to shoot some photography for my job, so if I ever have downtime while I'm on the road, I tend to do some shopping and browsing. 

I found this cute shelf in an antique mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana last week. I had to buy it (and for only $10!) because I knew it would be the perfect home for my rooster collection. I love roosters, but this collection is very special to me because it has been handed down in my family through many generations. They now have a sturdy and cute home in my dining room.

After browsing the antique mall in Indiana, I came home and still had the itch to do some more browsing. My husband and I went to Roadhouse Antiques in Creston, Illinois to continue the adventure. While there, I picked up a couple of items, including this corn teapot.

It's a really strange item. Most people would find it tacky. But living in the heart of the Midwest makes me appreciate these things. For just $3.50, it fits my down home Midwest kitchen/dining room area very well.

Fun fact: The owner of the shop reminded me that the teapot did not have its lid, which honestly hadn't occurred to me until she had pointed it out. She said that at most vintage shops, it's rare to find a teapot with its lid. She explained that when items are up for auction, typically lids and teapots are put in separate boxes to entice people to buy both boxes. However, she said, sometimes people just don't want all the items in both. She said I may stumble upon the lid somewhere, someday. It was kind of a neat thought.

I also dig in boxes of vinyl albums whenever I come across them. I've loved vinyl ever since my dad handed down his old record player from his high school days. I now have one of those funky (and practical) players that can host Bluetooth, vinyl, CD and cassette. When I spotted this album, "Rowdy Country," the artwork was what really caught my eye. After all, when you think "rowdy" country, don't you picture a flannel-sleeve arm punching through a wall? I know I do!

The track list is pretty incredible, too. It includes songs from Hank Jr., Waylon, Willie and more. At $2, this album was a steal. I picked up this album in Creston, as well.

I picked up this cute, wooden bird while hitting up garage sales Saturday. I thought he would work perfectly in one of the many trees in our backyard. Plus, I figured when the wind picks up and his wings spin, it would give my cats just another thing to gaze at during the day.

The person selling these homemade birds said they were by far the most popular item at his sale, and that he had sold more than 70 of them the day before! At only $1, it was a fun purchase. 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

What's next?

There's a lot of potential for my change in my life right now.

Change always makes me hesitant, and almost scared. But this time, I have a good feeling. 

Even though in the end, I have no idea what to expect.

- - -

I'm ready to take my writing to the next level. I have so many ideas, and so much pent-up energy on projects I've taken on. But where do I begin? 

- - -

Writing a book has been a goal of mine for as long as I've been able to write. I have two very strong feelings about it. 

1) Lots of people have done it/are doing it. So why couldn't you?

2) Lots of people have done it/are doing it. So how could you possibly stand out from the crowd and make your story worthwhile?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Home Decor: Thrifting finds

I love a good deal. And I love "unique" items. (Which really means I love dorky, vintage, country, down-home items. Yes, let's just call my style "down home.") With garage sale season upon us, my husband and I took some time recently to peruse the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, as well as some barn sales. Because when you live in farm country, barn sales are where it's at...

I was so excited to find this piece of barbed wire art at a barn sale that was aptly called "Crafts & Crap." Imagine my excitement when I saw that sign on the side of the road. As you may know, I'm a bit of a barbed wire nut -- my 4th great uncle was an original inventor of barbed wire and I run a blog about him here. For just $10, this homemade piece was a great find. This cute piece will fit perfectly in our little country-esque home.

The same sale had an entire table of retro Avon bottles, full of perfumes, lotions and more, for $1 each! They were fun to look through, but this rooster bottle of lotion caught my eye. I collect rooster and chicken knick-knacks of all types, so this one will be another welcome piece in the home.

A few weeks ago, I spotted this adorable salt and pepper shaker set at the local Salvation Army store. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox! For 59 cents, this set matches my quirky taste as well as my budget.

It's no secret that this house will be full of peculiar items. I have to admit, although I indulge in the show "Fixer Upper" from time to time, my style is anything BUT that... the "farmhouse" whites and grays, and stiff, formal sitting areas irk me. I'm more of a kitschy, walls loaded with colors and funky pieces type. I blame (and thank) my mom and grandma.

Do you like to thrift? Where do you shop for items for the home?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Digging up treasure

Digging up treasure in our front yard.
Chris and I have spent the past couple of weekends digging up the mess in the front and back yards of our new home. 

The yards had been needing some TLC for a while; dead flowers, grass, and more littered the area. We've mostly just been cleaning out the mess, we haven't even planted anything new yet.

Chris was working in the front yard while I tackled the backyard this weekend. At one point he showed me something he had dug up. To us, it looked like a belt buckle, or something similar. Unsure of what it was, he decided to post it to one of our local Facebook groups, "You know you're from Sycamore, Illinois when..." People often post pictures of things, looking for more information and such.

We were surprised when, within minutes, the comments started flowing, and people started tagging others in the post. Everyone immediately started saying "Oldsmobile hood ornament!" Within another twenty minutes, it had been determined that not only was it from an Oldsmobile, but more specifically, it was the emblem of a hubcap of a "spoked Olds 88/98 ... from about 1980-1985."

Someone was even able to send us the link of what exactly it looked like -- see below.
Within just minutes we had the most specific answer we could have asked for...and all from our hometown Facebook group!

I can easily say that while I'm part of the generation that grew up with the Internet, its power still boggles me every single day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Six Month Curse

If I can handle something for six months straight, chances are I'll keep doing it for a long time. But for most things, I burn out before I even hit that mark.

You see, I'm the victim of a "six month curse."

No matter how invested I may be, no matter how hard I try, if I don't truly care about something, I'll write it off within a few months. This has become a pattern in my life, and it puts a ticking time bomb on many things: hobbies, jobs, and even relationships.

I'm not sure why the "sweet spot" is six months, and I'm not sure why it happens at all. When I told my dad about my sneaking suspicion of my "six month curse," he quickly quipped, "you've always been that way."

It's like I have a fear of committing to certain things. Or I'm always on the edge of my seat, seeking something better, something even greater. I also have a tendency to get really riled up and excited about something, and I tend to move quickly in the early days of any new endeavor. But if I lose interest or passion, you can bet I'll do it within six months.

Maybe I'm a serial quitter. Maybe I'm just a rambunctious spirit that won't be tied down. I'm not even sure if this curse is a curse at all. Because I'm always moving on and trying new things, I feel I've learned so much more than I would have if I'd stayed put. But in the long run, is my tendency to wander going to hurt me?

I'm kind of nervous to find out. But I know I'll find out soon enough.