Monthly Archives: April 2014

Why I love Rainy Days

Today was a rainy day in Charleston. But I didn’t mind.

I love rainy days.

Its a good thing because we get a lot of rain in the Lowcountry.

Here are some of the reasons why I love rainy days.

Catching up on some old-school letter-writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Catching up on some old-school letter writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Charleston is known for it's flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter's school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

Charleston is known for it’s flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter’s school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

Sunday afternoon essentials

An afternoon in to read, relax and get some puppy love.

How do you spend a rainy day?

A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 1

A few of my favorite things, part 1 on http://amywatsonsmith.com

A few of my favorite things, part 1

This morning I have assembled a few of my favorite things to share with you. It wasn’t very hard to narrow this grouping as they were all within reach. I keep my favorite things close.

And just to be completely clear, all of these things are items that I or a family member has actually purchased. None of these have been “freebies”.

Here is what I included in the photo above.

Lots of stripes:

Books:

A few other things:

  • White and navy swiss dot cotton pjs from J. Crew (a gift from my very sweet husband who knows how much I l o v e pajamas).
  • “Oops” letterpress card by Ink Meets Paper, my favorite local letterpress studio (soon to be featured in my “Bee Smitten” series). I am a huge fan of snail mail
  • Reading glasses by Peepers. Now that I have reached a certain age, reading glasses are essential. I leave them all over the house but try to keep them somewhat ‘girly’ so my husband won’t borrow them. I have several favorite brands but the price is right for these stylish lovelies.
  • 154 Cologne by Jo Malone. This is my “go to” scent but when I want to change things up a bit, I layer it with one of their other fragrances. My favorites are grapefruit and pomegranate-noir.
  • Bright pink leather handbag with lime green interior by Sigrid Olsen. I especially love the scallops and bow. I picked this up for a steal a number of years ago at Marshalls.
  • Cream satin handmade rose brooch. This adds just a little something to anything. I purchased this several years ago from my favorite local store, Out of Hand in Mount Pleasant SC.

A few of my favorite things are missing:

peonies, gingham, red nail polish, coconut cake, seersucker, grapefruit, velvet ribbon, English breakfast tea, rick rack, colorful espadrilles, . . . .

I will continue to add posts to this series so keep coming back to see more of my other favorite things.

What are a few of your favorite things?

8 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Birthday

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?  Satchel Paige   Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/satchelpai103901.html#bKs6TdBhV2AOtrvI.99

How old would you be if you don’t know how old you are?

I celebrated another birthday this past weekend. A milestone birthday. A b i g birthday. Enough said.

I guess that I am now an expert on preparing for “decade birthdays”. Hmmm…not sure I want to be an expert in this but it is certainly better than the alternative.

So given my experience in this area, I have a few tried-and-true ways to make it through these celebrations. Here is my list of “8 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Birthday.”

1. It’s your birthday. You can cry if you want to.

2. Understand the cycle of acceptance: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. It is going to happen. You are going to age. Your birthdays will continue to come. Every year. On the same day. Learn how to accept this fact and recognize where you are in the cycle of acceptance. Now move on.

3. Be honest with yourself and your loved ones about how you want to celebrate your special day. Do some real soul searching and be as honest as possible about what you desire. Others cannot read your mind. If it is a milestone birthday, your family and friends may think they need to do something very big and very public. This is a lovely idea if this is what you want. If not then it could be a huge cause of stress. Know what you want and express these wishes to those who love you.

4. That being said, accept whatever gifts you are given for what they are: expressions of love. Do not read between the lines, judge the gifts or the givers, make comparisons, calculate cost or energy. Just accept them graciously. Gift-giving is a talent and few people have the talent of finding just the right thing. Giving gifts can be extremely stressful for many people and some are often paralyzed, overwhelmed and make poor decisions. This does not mean they do not love or appreciate you. Look past the gifts to see and accept the hearts of the givers.

5. Have your own little private celebration. Just you. No one else invited. Celebrate in whatever way you want. No one else needs to know this is what you are doing. It’s your little secret. Go buy a perfect red velvet cupcake and sing to yourself (no candles needed). Maybe a mid-afternoon, self-indulgent nap is your preference. Pedicure? A stroll through a park? A few hours at the beach? Wandering through your favorite bookstore? Give yourself this gift of time alone. You deserve it. And you will feel pampered afterwards.

6. Take some time to set your goals and priorities for the coming year and/or decade. What is really important to you, who is really important to you? Is there something you have always wanted to learn, do or try? How and when will you go about making this happen? Are there things that you need to add to your plate or more likely, take off your plate? What do you need to do to live intentionally? Take the time to actually write these down so that you can revisit them and make necessary adjustments.

7. Tell your loved ones that you love them. It’s frightening to think of all of the people I love and care for yet realize I have only said the words, “I love you” to a handful of people. Expressing love can be a great stress-reliever so make sure that your family and friends know how you feel about them.

8. Count your many blessings. This really works. Whenever you are sad or stressed or frustrated, take a few moments to be thankful. Keep a list. Write down a few everyday. Acknowledge and celebrate the blessings in your life. Poof! Negativity disappears.

These are some of the ways that I have had a stress-free birthday this year–and I have plenty of experience coming up with this list. I hope that it helps you to enjoy these special days!

How do you get through birthdays–especially milestone birthdays?

How I Start My Week

Monday morning from my perspective: setting priorities

This is what Monday looks like from my perspective. Coffee, old school planner, iPhone, iPad, camera, pen, more coffee. In my pajamas. Surrounded by my hounds.

This is how I start my week.

I know that I am fortunate to be able to start the week this way. I am blessed to be able to spend this season of my life only working out of my home part-time. I am lucky to have the opportunity to explore my passion for writing and photography and to have time being creative.

So I sit on the sofa in the den in my pajamas with my three dogs barking and running in circles (or sometimes chewing their bones), the cat is perched on the pillow by my side and I try to plan my day, my week, my year.

I update calendars, make appointments, brainstorm blog post ideas, plan the editorial calendar for my blog, shoot a few photos, begin a draft post or two and try to finish at least one that I can publish this week. I research ideas, read new posts from my favorite bloggers and comment when appropriate. I look through emails, check Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts and try to respond in turn. Finally I check my site statistics to see whether anyone has even read my latest post.

Seems like a lot of work . . . but for what purpose? Sometimes I wonder about this. And I know that my husband certainly does.

But I love what I am doing–writing, taking photos, blogging about my journey, . . . this gives me joy, makes my heart sing, stirs my creative juices and, ultimately, makes me a happier mama and wife. My two days of doing what I love energizes and enthuses me for the rest of the week.

I am thankful to the Lord and to my husband and daughter for allowing me the time to see where this “work” will take me.

This is how I start my week. With dreams and plans and ideas and pajamas.

How do you start your week? Are you a planner or a dreamer? Do you carefully set priorities or do you just jump into the week and see where it will take you?

 

How to Spend a Year Writing

Happy 1year birthday to amywatsonsmith.com

Well, today is the one-year birthday of this blog.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday…

I don’t think that I ever really believed that I could actually spend a year writing on a regular basis. Okay, I use the term “regular” rather loosely. But despite my best attempts at procrastination, I still managed to write. No, I needed to write. And apparently I needed to write in this format (i.e., blogging).

The actual look and name and feel of my blog has changed several times as I learned more about blogging but the content has remained consistent. I have attempted to write about my life in an authentic way–not white-washing it as I hope many of my posts and photos demonstrate.

I have learned quite a bit about blogging along the way and even more about myself. I feel as if I am just beginning to hit my stride, so here I go. I am going to spend another year writing this blog. I do hope you will continue on this journey with me.

Below you will find links to my top ten blog posts from the past year. I invite you to read them again–or for the first time.

Thank you and God’s peace and blessings to you.

Amy

TOP 10 POSTS FROM THE YEAR:

1. How to Make a Spring Break Survival Kit

Spring Break Survival Kit

 

2. Lessons from Miss Frances: On Living, Loving and Laughing

"Lessons from Miss Frances on Living, Loving and Laughing" on www.amywatsonsmith.com

 

3. How to Silence the Voice of Doubt

How to Silence the Voice of Doubt: Just write

 

4. When Everything Has Gone to the Dogs

"When Everything has Gone to the Dogs," Chester, one of the "twins"--English Springer Spaniels

 

5. Game Day Done Right

Ole Miss Road Trip

6. The Love of a Dog

A dog's love

 

7. Bee Smitten: Banner Celebrations

Oliver's banner

 

8. Time Flies When You are Living Life

Daddy-daughter chefs in "Time Flies When You are Living Life"

 

9. How to Have the Perfect Vacation

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in." -Robert Orben How to Have a Perfect Vacation on www.amywatsonsmith.com

 

10. Bee Smitten: A few of My Favorite Things

"Bee Smitten: A Few of  My Favorite Things / Photo of Judith Ann Entrican Kirkpatrick