Today is grey and rainy and I have had just about enough of it! Which is why I made the video below of tropical places (that I am not). For a few years of my life I lived in Arizona and Florida. It was warm and sunny most days and I really liked that part. Alas, I moved back to NH (and I really do enjoy the seasons most of the time) and am now within minutes to my mum and friends….and they make it all worth it. Even on the most cloudy and dreary day! 
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The Sound of Silence

As I sit watching the sun come up over the Golf of Mexico this morning, I stunned by a sound not often heard by a parent, the sound of silence.

This week, I am working from Venice, FL. My grandparents bought a beautiful beach condo in the late 80’s and as a teen and young adult, I would visit once a year in February. My grandparents always made the place so wonderful for us. There is a pool and a beach across the street. My Gram would get up and make us all breakfast every morning and my Grandpa would ask us what we wanted to do for the day: batting range, mini golf, beach…whatever…..Usually, I wanted to hit Beach or Sarasota Mall to shop and well, meet cute boys….Lets just say I have lots of good memories here 😉

The Pier by Sharkey’s Crew getting a little CRAZY!!
Body surfing FUN!

Interesting because we just do not often spend time alone and it makes me think of the time before we had kids (which it’s like I have mentally blocked and honestly don’t remember much of). And what it will be like when they are older…spending more time with friends than the ‘rents and going off to school.

Making a meal just for two, relaxing after dinner with a glass of wine, and not having to worry who brushed their teeth, got dressed, knows where their backpack is, etc… I highly recommend it. Since this is the longest my husband and I have been alone since the honeymoon, I think I lost sight of that.
Now, that I am a mother, I have been here with the kids for our vacations and I pretty much do for them what my grandparents did for me. I make it centered around good family fun. They love it and I really prefer it to hitting Orlando where all the parks are. It is slower and more restful and I can use that in my life.

Sand Angel

This time though, I am here tagging along on a business trip with my husband. He is working during the day…and so am I and my mum and her husband are watching the kids and taking care of all my responsibilities for the week at home. And I gotta tell you, I LOVE it! I really and I do mean REALLY love being a mum. I love the hugs and kisses and stories and just the whole excitement of having little ones around. Watching them grow and learn new things (especially when you teach them) is pretty awesome. What I don’t love so much is the fighting and bickering and complaining which with kids, let’s face it, is pretty much an every day thing. And for this week, I don’t have to hear it at all. I can’t even begin to tell you how relaxing and at the   same time interesting it is.

So, I guess I think ALL parents should try to do this once and while. Get away alone and just BE with each other. Reconnect with your spouse and with yourself….and try on that part of you that is just you…not taking care of someone else…

Something to think about…

Laurie

Holiday Time for this Customized Walls Staffer Should Come in Print!

So, I have NO EXCUSE not to be blogging these days. Work plus 3 kids to schlep to parties and sleepovers during this holiday season has actually left me with a little bit of time to myself. However, I have used that spare time to READ. I am a pretty avid reader all the time for the most part but lately, I have been reading even more than usual.


Books that I have been obsessed with: 

My daughter has been reading my copies of The Hunger Games trilogy which has me re-reading and so excited to chat with her about them. Bel is 10 and this is the first series that she has read of “my books”. It is so fun to read through with her and chat. Our own little book club, if you will…





This book had me on my toes. “It begins as a twenty something Christine wakes up in a stranger’s bed unable to remember how she got there. She quickly learns some disturbing facts: the stranger is her husband, Ben who she can’t remember at all, she is middle aged and has forgotten most of her life and she suffers from a rare form of amnesia where she can’t retain memories from day to day. As she’s trying to cope with all of this information, she stumbles across something more bizarre–a journal where she’s been recording her recollections of recent day’s events beginning with the title page on which she has scrawled, “Don’t Trust Ben!” EEK!



A Novel with a well researched look into a slice of the life of Ernest Hemingway. I knew little more than middle to high school knowledge of his life. This dramatic love story starts off where Ernest met his first wife, Hadley Richardson (whom he  has much quoted in saying he wished he lived life only having loved her). 


The Paris Wife stimulated my interest in Hemingway so much at I’ve since purchased A Moveable Feast for my iPad.




So, what have you been up to this fine holiday season?


Check out our new murals at www.customizedwalls.com and enter “Holiday” to receive 15% off your order (not to be combined with other offers)! Email me at laurie@customizedwalls.com if you have issues.


Peace!



I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Hi All!

So sorry it has taken me so long to blog.

Believe me, I do have some excuses though and it’s not quite as lame as the dog ate my blog….

First off, last week NH got hit by 2 feet of snow! Now, this is sometimes the norm deep in January but certainly NOT in October! Major problems hit because all the leaves have not dropped yet making the limbs super heavy and breaking trees all over the place. My city was hit particularly hard and many of my friends and relatives were without power for most of the week……INCLUDING the schools! Soooo…I had the kids home for 3 school days and was majorly playing catchup the rest of the week.

And,  because we were all cramped in with the unseasonable weather, I was struck down by the mother of all colds and actually DID sleep through most of the weekend! I looked half dead and absolutely NOTHING like this…

And much more like this:

And to top it all off…..I was outside with the kids in the snow and somehow sprained my knee!

BUT….Some good things also did happen while I have been away.

Business is good and we are printing away! We have recently been printing photo booth wall murals for your room or hallway. Pretty cool, huh?

AND, I booked our family vacation to HAWAII!!!!! I am soooo excited to take the kids and get some fun in the sun. We booked for February vacation which is my favorite time to leave NH. It is just about when I have lost my mind in all the snow and freezing rain. SO, I will be sitting back and enjoying this view:

A pretty cool thing happened after we booked too…We wanted to spend some time in Honolulu but wanted some down time too. I found a resort on the windward side of Oahu that seemed more laid back and less crowded (way more my speed on vacation). I was all set to book but the hotel was booked on their website so I went to expedia and booked them. I thought it meant that maybe they just had a block of rooms for sites like that… Well, the next day I got an email to call expedia and was told that the hotel I booked with was going out of business. Expedia kindly offered to upgrade us to a hotel on the North Shore and one of the few hotels not in the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. Incidentally, it is also where they have filmed a BUNCH of movies and TV shows…Most famously Forgetting Sarah Marshall, recently Soul Surfer, parts of the property were in LOST, Cougar Town Hawaii episode…and many more!

It looks like this:

AND….Last but not least…I am DONE Christmas Shopping!!!! Most of the gifts for the kids are travel themed, snorkel gear, and luggage so it was easy this year but I can not tell you how glad I am to be DONE!

SOOOOOOOOOOOO…I hope you all have been well! Fill me in…What have you been up to?

Thanks for reading!

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday, y’all! Hope you had a FANTASTIC weekend. I had a very relaxing one spent with the kids. It was a bit chilly so we all went outside and made a teepee with branches and sheets and played a Indian game. The kids had a blast and we ended a long day of running around with a nice dinner of Shepherd’s Pie. The littles RAVED and gave me many thumbs up (which is always nice).


Today, it is back to work and I am especially happy because it is my BFF’s Birthday. We have known each other her whole life! She is younger than I am (darn it) so when it is her birthday, I am all about teasing her that she is catching up to me and therefore very old! Wait a minute…..that doesn’t sound good! I am NOT old…I sometimes feel like that 26 yr old (even though I am 10 yrs older -EEk)

We were 18 and 22 at Canobie Lake Park


NYC for the Fourth of July





Old and new, you can tell we like to have fun! We have some of the very best laughs together. She has been there for me when I have been sad and there to celebrate all the good things in my life. Friends and family through and through. Lots of Love to Emily on her very special day!




What do you do with YOUR best friends?


Check out our site www.customizedwalls.com  Refer a Friend to sign up for our emails and let us know at  sales@customizedwalls.com and get 25% off coupon for your mural-  this week only! 

Hurricane Irene is heading toward NH…and people are FREAKING OUT!

So, I am a total facebook junkie like so many of my friends. I find it is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. I post pictures and my family and my husband’s family get to see the kids as they have their “kodak moments” or in our case Canon Moments and I really think it brings us all a little bit closer.


The down side of it is that when there is a storm (either political or weather related), everyone gets a little on edge. 

Right now, it is all about Hurricane Irene. People are heading to the stores to clean out the water and batteries. They are cleaning their yards and preparing to hole up in basements in necessary. Now, I am not mocking them…In fact, I just cleaned the yard and will be heading to the grocery store to stock up myself in a few minutes…I just know that part of the reason is that everyone else seems worried….which makes ME worried…ya know?

Pic from my friend, Andre Wright



In light of that, I am signing off with a few murals meant to offer some peace and relaxation. We all could use a little of that today! 



Oh, and….
HEHE…..Just kidding!
All of these murals and more can be found at www.customizedwalls.com!

HAVE A GREAT (AND SAFE) WEEKEND!!!!!




It is never too late to start doing what you love..

Today, I was on my latest obsession, www.pinterest.com and I was struck by this sign…

You can Follow my pins here http://pinterest.com/customizedwalls/pins/





I guess it appeals to me because I am 36 and starting a new business and really hoping that the past 7 months of 7 day work weeks working 14 hrs a day (not to mention the cash investment) will pay off and amount to a successful business.


Before starting this business, I had been consulting selling ink and media for large format printing. Primarily for the fine art market but I have touched quite a few markets. One thing I can say with all my years of touching, testing and yes, even smelling AND tasting printing materials, is that I know a good product when I see one. I can feel it in my bones, if you will. A sort of tingle that this will be something that people can use.


So, when I found this product, I had a big tingle. HUGE, really…right down to my toes and I just knew that this was something I would use in my own life. Everyone always says, when  you find something you would use yourself, start a business…. and I guess you could say that is just what I did.


At one point, I have rented. Being a little bit of a nomad in my early years, I rented SEVERAL apartments and houses. And each one had the same boring, white walls. I would always decorate and dress it up in my way (with whatever budget I had at the time) but I just know that I would have absolutely flipped to cheer up those standard white walls with one of these murals. Heck, I would have been happy to order one in a solid color…anything other than plain, old apartment white…


Ever the entrepreneur,  I also owned a wine shop for a few years. I was able to paint my shop and make it cute but I think how much easier it would have been if I could have done a few of these murals to set the mood. I can pictures vineyard-scapes with dark purple grapes hanging so fat and juicy you could practically taste the wine they produce. Talk about advertising…


and THEN, when we bought this house, my (at the time) 4 yr old daughter was absolutely obsessed with pink. Now, I like pink as much as the next gal but I find vast amounts to be a bit like pepto… if you know what I’m sayin’…


Anyhow, we waited a few years….Why? Well, because we were bad, horrible parents that were just plain too pooped on the weekend for painting.


When we finally got around to it, we spent a solid week (Yes, I said solid WEEK) in August (her birth month) steaming, scoring, scraping 1970s wallpaper from her walls for a birthday room makeover. Exhausting and HOT does not even BEGIN to describe it. After hauling buckets of dirty, wet, old paper and glue out of the room, we scrubbed and scrubbed the walls clean and FINALLY got to spend the next weekend taping off, priming, and painting the walls. Yep…THREE coats of pink to match the less obnoxious lighter color in her new pink and zebra bed set (did I mention she was also obsessed with zebras?).


BUT, when she finally saw it she screamed and yelled and hugged with such excitement that it was totally worth it……..Sort of 😉



This is When we were ALMOST finished the pink RE-DO


We made this Warhol-esqe Large print of her to hang over the bed. Cool, huh?

Well, unfortunately, she is SO OVER pink now that she is the ripe, old age of 10 (my baby is growing up *sigh*), and just LOVES everything BLUE. Here we go again!


This time, we are going to paint the room a more sellable neutral color and buy crisp white and aqua bedding…..And the BELOW mural on one wall. I think it will have some milage into the teen years, don’t you?

She is a little surfer chick…so it works great… 



But, I digress……


When I saw this product, I saw something that I know I would have, and WILL use. My hope that others will want to use it too.


So, here is to all of US who are just starting something new…..may we “master” our new pursuits as well as Julia Mastered the Art of French Cooking!