A turquoise door, people. This girl finally got her turquoise door!
It’s amazing how fast two years flies. A few weeks ago, The Hubs noted that the following day would mark two years to the date since we moved in our house.
The next day, I drove into the driveway after work and gazed at the amazing, bright and happy turquoise door that greeted me from the front porch. My sweet Hubs had spent his day off painting the turquoise door I had been dreaming of since that day our realtor had taken us to see this house. READ MORE…
As my husband says, you can’t go wrong with cheese tortellini. Earlier this week, I couldn’t decide which of the sausage and cheese tortellini soup recipes on Pinterest I wanted to try. None seemed healthy in any form or fashion so I couldn’t use that as a determinant. But delicious? All sounded highly delicious. The two recipes I was volleying between are this sausage and tortellini soup from Party in My Kitchen and this Crockpot sausage and tortellini soup from Little Fellows. READ MORE…
Those are words I never thought I would speak! I’ve never had my own month before. If months weren’t so replaceable, one could really get a big head from such a title.
I suppose I’m to the part where I tell you all about Mrs. September.
I grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas, the home of the great Spudnut and Chick-A-Dilly Chicken. (Seriously, if you are ever in El Do and don’t give each of those places a try, I might cry for you.) The product of a south Arkansas man and a Panamanian woman, I grew up speaking a blend of redneck English and heavily accented Spanish. My parents’ diverse cultural backgrounds were evident on the dinner table each night, too. On a Wednesday night, it would be turnip greens, hot water cornbread, and fried ham. On Thursday, it might be arroz con pollo with a side of hojaldras and some sweet maduros. Whatever the night and whatever the flavor, my mom’s insistence that I help out daily in the kitchen led to my love of cooking today.
In college at Southern Arkansas University, I graduated with degrees in journalism and psychology. I worked as a newspaper reporter for about 1 ½ years before deciding to transition into teaching. I have my teaching certification in English, Spanish, English as a Second Language, Journalism, World Cultures, and several other history areas. Several years ago, I received my Master’s of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. For nearly the last 15 years, I have worked as a Spanish teacher for 8th-grade. For about ten of those years, I also served as my school’s ESL teacher.
But once a writer, always a writer, huh? Even after I had switched to teaching, I continued to take on freelance writing assignments such as writing for my college sorority’s national magazine and for a local university’s monthly newsletter. I also started a little blog in 2008 as a creative outlet. I spent all of about 5 minutes deciding on a name. Blessed with the gift of gab my whole life, it seemed The Gifted Gabber was fitting. If I had it to do all over again, I might have actually chosen a name that actually represents my niche. But, hey, in 2008, I didn’t know there was any sort of method to the madness behind blogging.
In fact, after only occasionally updating my blog for about 5 years and treating it more like a personal journal, I decided to revive the gab in 2013. At this point, I had been married to my amazing husband, Jason, for nearly three years, and we had welcomed our first daughter, Harper, at the end of 2012.
Inspired by so many mommy, food, and fashion blogs I found through Pinterest, I realized I wasn’t utilizing my blog as I could. In August of 2013, I stumbled across a group of women in an organization called The Arkansas Women Bloggers. Huh? Bloggers had support groups? Who knew?! And not only that, ARWB was actually scheduled to host a state conference that very weekend in my own town. What luck!
How fortunate I was to learn from these women who were much wiser and more experienced than me when it came to professional blogging. Who would have thought I would be in my second contract year as an ambassador for McDonald’s? And how wild to think that I would go on to be chosen as an ARWB Blogger of the Month!
My blog – though once focused on balancing life as a Spanish teacher and a mom – is now mostly centered on mommy-and-me everything.
In 2014, we welcomed our second daughter, Norah, into our already hectic lives. And I am totally smitten with being a girl mom. Whether it’s mommy-and-me cooking, mommy-and-me style, family travel, party planning, or decorating my home around children, I enjoy gabbing about all of it. And so maybe The Gifted Gabber is a fitting name after all.
One of the most bittersweet experiences I’ve encountered; hiking has long had a special place in my life. Years ago, it was during a hike I got the first signs I was sick. I remember having to stop because I couldn’t breathe, yet the gift of the amazing surroundings kept me going. I wanted to see more. It was soon after that climb up a volcano in Hawaii I was later diagnosed with my first form of cancer. That hike reminded me that though the challenge of doing something that felt too hard to complete, the beauty of what awaited me was worth it. And since then I’ve known, every hike, just like every person, has a story. There’s definitely something special about those places where you stop to take an extra look, don’t you think? Read More…
Have you ever thumbed through the pages of an interior design magazine or maybe drooled over some cover-page worthy images on Pinterest? When it comes to décor, I have always been one of those people who has an idea in my head, but I can’t quite execute it “just so”. Now that my husband and I are building a custom home on several acres of land, we want to step it up in the sustainability department. Lucky or me, inspiration doesn’t have to come from very far away. Arkansas boasts one of the most breathtaking estates in the country only outdone by the owner’s beautiful soul. Read More…
When you think Arkansas, what comes to mind? Be honest now. When we moved here from California I got an earful of pre-conceived notions and stereotypes from other people asking me silly things like, “Do they even have the internet there?” Or one of my favorites, “Where will go out to eat?” I don’t mind, though. It’s like I get to take part in this special secret. The people who live here can keep smiling to themselves about how great we’ve got it. And one place they have it really great? That’s Jasper. It’s got the stuff the perfect getaway is made of. Read More…
When I moved to Arkansas, I wouldn’t quite say I did so kicking and screaming, but I would say it wasn’t exactly an easy transition. Previously, I had left my hometown of Miami, Florida for San Diego, California because the pace of life was slower. It was half the population and I thought people were just so laid back. Then I visited my husband’s hometown of Prairie Grove, Arkansas and soon learned what a slow pace really is (he’s heard that story about five-hundred times).
Sometimes in life, we don’t know what we need until the universe shows it to us. The truth is that my life was pretty wonderful, but it needed something greater. That led me to do something I said I’d never do; involve myself with a man who has children and re-marry. Famous last words…
Until then, I thought I had it all figured out. Life showed me that there are things out there greater than I. At first, Arkansas was hard on me. From mosquitos and bugs the size of my head to almost an offensive humidity in the summers and (what I consider to be) bitter cold in the winters, I found a reason to fight accepting my new life at just about every turn. There were things I hadn’t seen before that I encountered in Arkansas. There were things I hadn’t heard before. There was a period of culture shock and, at first, instead of embracing the good things I concentrated on what I didn’t like. I shunned advances from those trying to comfort and encourage me. I was embarrassed to tell people I lived in Arkansas. I would say, “I just moved from San Diego or I’m based out of San Diego.” Now THAT embarrasses me.
When we arrived, a few people told me to give it a year. I thought to myself, “I could give it a lifetime and this place just won’t be home.” I was wrong. I couldn’t tell you the exact time or day, but something in me finally clicked.
Humbled by the farming community in my own back yard, I soon learned about true organic foods and things like beekeeping. I set my eyes upon some of the most beautiful places I’d ever visited (and believe me, a military brat with a career that’s taken me around the world – I’ve visited a whole lot of places). I would travel for work and long to get back to the peace and quiet – and deer family on our land. I would go back to San Diego for meetings and found myself driving in the right lane instead of shaking my fist at people going too slow in the left lane. I changed.
I started blogging to tell the story of a wife who traveled for her career while married to a man in the military. I rebranded to tell the story of a city wife living the country life thinking I’d point out all the ways the country needed to be changed; instead I learned it was I who needed to change. I’ve stepped back to examine what that means and how to best share the story of Arkansas and those who live here. It’s quite a story to tell. This place is a gem (literally and figuratively). I hope, in time, I can do it some justice.
I now proudly call this place home and wherever I may wander off to next, I take solace and yes, even pride, in knowing I have such a beautiful place to come back to. I hope you enjoy this small slice of The Natural State and when you decide to stop by for your own Arkansas adventure, look me up!
Just like my art, my studio is ever evolving. We moved into our current home in 2015. I am lucky enough to have an entire spare bedroom to use as my art studio. It is not huge, but it is a separate space just for my art. Since we moved here, I have rearranged it a few times in search of the perfect layout. I’m still looking.
My latest switch was just last week. I am still reorganizing some things, so I will be updating the Studio Tour as I go. More supplies, more projects, means more stuff. Managing that is always a challenge. When I become a ‘famous’ artist, or win the lottery, I will build my dream studio. I hope that is soon!
I hope you enjoy seeing it evolve. Follow the links within the blog posts to see the updates. READ MORE…
After moving to Northwest Arkansas, I was very happy to be able to apply to be a vendor at War Eagle Craft Show. I had only participated in a few Art Festivals in Georgia, but none in Arkansas. Although I had never been to the War Eagle Craft Show, I had heard that it is a big show with great attendance, along with many other shows that same weekend in October each year. And it is.
I set up shop there for 2 years and I loved it. The crowds are wonderful and the setting is just gorgeous in October. Last year I had to withdraw a few weeks before the Fair because my husband had to have unexpected heart surgery. While I enjoyed being a vendor at War Eagle, it is a long 4 day show. This year, any shows that I go to will be 1 or 2 day shows. Maybe we will go back to War Eagle again as a vendor, or as a customer and blog about the show. For now, you can read about our first year experience. READ MORE…
The Arkansas Women Blogger Conference in September 2014 was one of the first ‘events’ that I participated in after moving to Northwest Arkansas in the spring of that year. I was not able to attend the conference but I did participate in the Saturday Makers Market, where I met several bloggers in real life for the first time! It made an impression on me and I blogged about it.
I happened to be there when a news reporter from Channel 5 News was there. Fair warning…there is a reason why I do not talk on video. I was not prepared when she came up to me to ask a few questions.
“Bloggers are not normal” What?
I’m sorry for my nonsensical blathering on camera. If you watch the video (Link on the blog) to see what I’m talking about. You will also see some other Arkansas Women Bloggers speaking very eloquently about the conference.
Clarification: By ‘normal friends’ I meant ‘friends who were not bloggers’.
In my defense, that year was a very stressful year. Which is why I was blogging about Simplifying my life! Talking to a reporter on camera is not that! READ MORE…