Monday, July 4, 2016

Good-bye First Half of 2016!

Good grief! Where in the world did the first half of 2016 go?
It feels like just yesterday that we returned from our road-trip
from Dallas and New Orleans and were celebrating the holidays!
So here I am... It is July and I feel terrible for abandoning my blog and you,
my sweet readers, for what has nearly been a year since you could count on my
regular updates! So what's been keeping me so busy and distracted? Well...
Right after promising never to travel again, I immediately booked
an Alaskan cruise to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary... 
However, since Alaska is frozen (and dark) in wintertime, we had to wait
until May. So, we settled for celebrating our anniversary at Biltmore again!
However, to mix it up a little, I decided we would not stay
at the Grove Park or at the Inn at Biltmore again...
Instead, I chose the Grand Bohemian! 
I knew from a 2-day work event there a few years ago that it was
spectacular... But only if you stay in the original part of the hotel!
If you prefer the old-world style like I do!
It is located just across the street from the entrance to Biltmore...
And, across the street from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse too! 
Therefore, location-wise, you cannot do any better!
We enjoyed a beautiful suite!
With televisions in every room!
And, a spectacular jetted tub; just like the one we have at home!
Unfortunately, we had a terrible experience at Ruth's Chris
that evening; so our anniversary dinner turned into room service...
Which turned out to be just fine!
After dinner we went over to the Grove Park to see the Gingerbread Houses!
And, we enjoyed hot chocolate by the fire!
The next morning we went back to Biltmore for another tour...
Spring and Christmas...
Always my favorite times at Biltmore!
It was another beautiful visit. And, since that visit in December, we
have already been back twice. Once in February and again in March! 
Because there's always a good reason to go!
In fact... We already have tickets for the next big event! 
Which I just realized is right around the corner! 
See? It is Biltmore Summer Concert Series time!
And, if you really know me... You know I really love Rick Springfield! 
So a little bit about that new hobby that's no longer
so new... The one that took over where cookies left off!
It happened right after Ranger left the Army. I felt
such a sense of relief that I had never felt before...
I was so grateful that he had survived the Army...
I was so grateful and just felt like I had been handed my life back!
So, as I ventured out... I began to make some
terrific new friends. And, not one of them has a blog!
Friends that were doing something else I had long wanted to do but
didn't feel I had the time/focus to do as well as it deserved and needed
to be done. But then, I went into my favorite antique mall to pick up
this Christmas tree a friend told me about and decided to inquire...
About renting a space there to launch my own antique mall booth!
And, within a month I was the newest vendor in that very spot that can
be seen in the photo of my new Christmas tree on the sales counter!
I already had my toe dipped into a booth in a much smaller antique mall nearby;
and while I was doing well enough, I really wanted to see what I could do in a much
busier mall - With a larger space that would also require more time and effort!
So I did it! I picked everything up from the smaller shop and I moved!
It was a lot of work to take my new booth space from this...
To this in less than 24-hours! Fortunately, I have an amazing
handyman with a lot of patience, tools and a pick-up truck!
And, it was all worth it! I have learned so much about staging and what to sell
and when to sell from my new friends who also run booths as a side business... And,
moving into a busier mall, I immediately doubled and even tripled my income!
So where does everything I have for sale in my booth come from?
Not from Army dad's library, that's for sure! Because while I
decluttered every corner of our home and have now sold literally
hundred of excess things from my own various collections of this,
that and the other thing... I've been told all of his things are off limits!
And, in the year and a half since I began this little
venture, he has not budged on anything... Not once!
And, you know what... It actually fine. Because, as you know, I very much
love to shop... And, as it turns out, I have discovered that I enjoy
shopping to sell even more than I love shopping to keep!
So now that most of the things from my personal collections have sold
through, you are probably wondering where all this new stuff comes from!
Well, there are still things coming out of the house; because now that I have
the shop, I have a place to flip things when I find something I like better! A
recent example is this silver serving tray I added to the booth a week ago...
After I found this marble lazy Susan to take its place in our dining room!
And, let's be honest... A lot of my shopping (and baking) came from the
stress I was under while Ranger was in the Army. All that traveling and angst
resulted in waking up one morning to find that I had 58 antique flower frogs!
Now really... Who the hell needs fifty-eight flower frogs?!
Also, Ranger is now a college student; therefore, having a place to sell
stuff I no longer want helps me help him and his brother a lot more too!
It has really turned into such a blessing, I cannot even tell you!
This little venture is the creative outlet I do not always have at work...
It feeds my need to decorate, piddle and arrange things. And, until
things sell, I can still enjoy them without tripping over them at home!
I have also stumbled onto some amazing finds to give to my
wonderful mother and friends too... Such as these lovely
dresser boxes and and sterling silver hand mirrors!
I picked all of them up for less than $60 at an auction...
Of course, they did not come like this... Everything was covered in decades
of tarnish. But it really is part of the fun - Especially when you discover that
the hand mirrors are marked sterling and engraved with your mom's initial!
Another benefit of running a booth like this is that I am basically
paid to merchandise and decorate for every holiday and season!
Like today... My booth looks like this because it is Independence Day!
Really... It is a lot of fun!
And, it is always changing! Yesterday morning I picked up this brass
table-top cabinet at an auction, so I rushed it over to my booth to move
these Hummel figurines out of my locked cabinet. I am hoping it will make
them easier to access and disappear into someone else's collection soon!   
Now, there are still a few treasures I find that I keep for myself... 
Like this trio of creamy white English pitchers!
So, now you are all caught up! And, while I still have much to share from
our recent cruise adventure to Alaska - Right now, there is this to do...
But I promise, it will not take me six months to be back with you! And,
in the meantime, you can check out these new posts from Houston
and our stops in New Orleans and Atlanta on the way home!


  1. Dreams do come true... glad to see you are doing so well my friend !

    love ya,

  2. Glad to see you are doing so well ! Dreams do come true.

    Love ya,

    1. Glad to know you are doing so well too!

      Love you too!


  3. Janet: greetings from the west coast! so good to catch up with you as I was wondering what you were up to. I don't have fb but sometimes I looked you up from my father in laws account to make sure you were good! Loved your update and I feel the same, how can we be halfway thru 2016?

    I am waiting for our guests to show up for our 4th of July BBQ and fireworks (we overlook our valley's annual show) -- sitting on the deck catching up on blogs. Again so happy for your update. Your storefront looks great btw! Clearly you are busy!

    Have a great second half of 2016! I eagerly await your next update! ~teri

    1. Hello, my HappyValley friend! So good to hear from you again - Thank you for checking in! Nothing makes me happier than to know you're still reading along!


  4. So happy to see you back in the blogging world, Janet! I live vicariously through you, you know! :)

    1. You are the sweetest, Nancy! Thank God we are in touch every day via Facebook because I cannot live without you either!


  5. Nice to see some updates and see gorgeous pictures!

  6. Yay! You're back.... thanks for the pictures of the Biltmore and some of those movie wedding dresses-- do you have more pictures from the trip there? Thanks also for telling us about your new creative outlet... you definitely have a talent for merchandising. Perhaps the co-workers miss your cookies, but you can offer to decorate the area for the holidays instead... Are you still kayaking and doing spinning classes? Look forward to reading about it all... I live varciously through you, too. Andrea who tells you about steiffs and I got the pig

    1. Hi, Andrea! So nice to hear from you. Yes! We are still kayaking and I'm still taking my spin classes too! :)

      I have a ton of photos from the Wedding Gown exhibit at Biltmore; and guess what? We also went to see the Downtown Abbey costumes exhibit too! I promise to put a post together for you soon so that you can see them. I originally didn't post about them because I didn't think it was fair to Biltmore to publish the photos while the exhibits were still open but now that they have closed, I promise to get on it!

      Again, thanks for checking in. It thrills me to know you are (still!) reading along!


  7. So nice to see a post again. I really enjoy your blog and have missed you. I hope someday to do the Alaskan cruise but first I want to see the Biltmore.

    1. I've missed you too! Stay tuned because I'm just putting the finishing touches on a Biltmore post I think you're going to love!

      Should be up this evening!



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