Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 25

We MADE it to 25!
Merry Christmas everyone!
It really IS all about the Savior of the world, who came in a lowly manger, when he could have come to us in royal robes! I love this ornament collection and the reminders that Jesus will come again and He has atoned for all of our sins. 
Come unto Him

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 24

This sweet ornament was given to me by one of my best friends. She and I met one day and have been close ever since. We taught at the same school, were pregnant together with our boys, and had them within days of each other. 
Whenever I hang this ornament on my tree, I think of my friend. I also think of all of my friends both near and far. I am so grateful for all of you in my life!
TOMORROW will be the last ornament! 
Thanks, as always, for reading and Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas from the Beach

Wishing your family a very Merry Christmas from my family!
Thank you for all of your support!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 23

Ornaments sure don't have to be fancy to be special! It is so ironic to me that we forget how little our kiddos were. This is Dayton at about 15 months old. His BIG brown eyes have always dazzled the women. I loved his bowl cut, until he cut it off on Thanksgiving Day! 
Dayton has always had a great imagination and would play with everything, especially a cardboard box. He continues to be smart, mature and so handsome. He has accomplished much in his first twelve years. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 22

Like any mom, I cherish my children and the role of motherhood. When Emma came into our lives, almost 16 years ago, a light sparked in me that has never gone away. I knew very early on that she would teach me things I had never even thought about...and that has completely come to pass. As a young child, she was sweet and musical and vibrant. As she is a grown woman, now, she is still all of those things and so much more! She has been tried and tested in these last couple of years and yet still continues to be a light to everyone who sees her. It breaks my heart to know, that in just a few short years, that she will move onto another phase of life where we will be less involved. But, I know, that no matter where she is our connection and her example to me will be just as strong!

Ornament A Day ~ 21

Another example of my mother's talent. She made these one year with glass bulbs and snow. My mom loves to garden and when the weather gets yucky in Nor Cal she usually has an ornament that she works on instead. We are always so lucky to get her ornaments!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas at the Beach ~ Part I

Merry Christmas from Hermosa Beach!
I love Christmas, especially the lights. I snapped some pics of a few of the sights on my early morning run. This is the strand between the Hermosa Pier and the Manhattan Pier.  Hubby and I have a date on Saturday night to walk the strand and check out even more beachy Christmas lights! Stay tuned...

Hermosa Beach Christmas tree at dawn

Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza at dawn

Manhattan Beach Pier at dawn

One example of Christmas lights on the Strand

A beautiful, traditional display

Cape Cod Victorian with red bows

Icicles on the sand

Ornament A Day ~ 20

I can't believe we only have 5 days left! So exciting, but also sad to see Christmastime end. It is just so magical!
Believe it or not, I don't have many ornaments from China (well, that we bought there I mean!). I guess it was something about living there that made us not in the habit of buying souvenir-type things. However, I did pick up a few of these. I can't quite remember the name of this artistic process, but it is very labor intensive and popular. 
Seeing the Pandas in Schezuan province was one of the highlights of our time in China and in my life. I will never forget their sweet dispositions. 
If you missed my panda post you can check it out here

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 19

This is our honeymoon ornament! Mark planned our entire honeymoon to Victoria, British Columbia. It was absolutely perfect! We stayed at the legendary Empress Hotel and had wonderful meals, went to the Botanical Gardens and even took a carriage ride! However, we had a little mishap on a scooter that landed me in the hospital. Yep! But it makes for a great story!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 18

Today's ornament comes straight from France. It is one of my favorite places that I have visited. My niece was lucky to live there for a year and brought me this cute guy. Such a lucky aunt I am!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 17

I am proud to be an American! I always have, but after living in a foreign country it is more so. We got his in DC when we traveled as a family there. Not my favorite trip, I was moody! The beauty and the sights were amazing though.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ornament A Day ~16

When Emma turned ten there was a reality show on called "Grease, You're The One That I Want" where they casted Danny and Sandy on Broadway from the reality show. Emma was very into Broadway musicals at the time and her Dad thought it would be great to use frequent flyer miles and Marriott points for her to go to NYC to see Grease on Broadway. My mom, Emma and I went and had a blast! We ended up seeing all the sights, three Broadway shows, and shopped until we dropped! A total and complete dream come true in the Big Apple! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 15

Another amazing ornament made A LONG TIME AGO by my mom. What is it about us buying all of our ornaments now? I feel like in the past people used to work so much harder on things like this...and look at the love I have for it. Much better than something I picked up at Target, along with my bread. Thank you Mom!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 14

Yep! I have turned into "one of those" dog people! How did it happen? I have NO IDEA! All I know is that Dayton was starting Kindergarten and I found myself driving to a breeder and falling in love with Jupiter. He is my third "baby". He is Mark's favorite family member. He was my buddy on those long and lonely Beijing days. Now he is a beach dog! I wouldn't trade him for the world!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 13

This ornament came from my dear friend over ten years ago. She and I met as we worked at the front desk of a hotel while we were in college. We became fast friends and it hasn't skipped a beat since then! She gave me this ornament and it has a special spot on my tree each year. Now, as we live in Southern California again, I get to see her more often...what a blessing!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 12

I absolutely love ornaments that have pictures in them! 
We were really lucky to have neighbors who became like family to us. You know the kind, where you can call day or night, and they would come? The kind where the kids would go back and forth multiple times a day, switching between houses. 
Yep! Those were our neighbors! For Christmas one year we were given an ornament like the one above with both of my children with one of their children in it. These are so special because, as you know, those moments don't last forever! The kids grow up, families move away, and time passes by. Thank goodness we have our memories, pictures like this, and Facebook to keep those special friendships alive!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 11

Since yesterday was my first ornament, today is hubby's first ornament. Who remembers Shrinky Dinks? He still loves this ornament. The date on this cure little soldier boy is 1980. Who knew hubby was so artistic?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 10

This was my OWN very first ornament. I was four years old and it was given to me by my favorite aunt, Auntie Joan. This sweet angel used to have a bell that she was holding, but it disappeared long ago. I remember, as my mom decorated our tree growing up, I would look for this ornament to put on myself. 
Auntie Joan lived in Minnesota. I spent a summer visiting her between my 8th and 9th grade. It was a lot of fun! I, also, took Emma there to visit during January! It was cold, but Emma was only three, and she bundled up easily. Auntie Joan passed away a few years back. I am grateful to have this on my tree to remember her by.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 9

The reason for the wonderful Christmas season is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This was made by Emma when she was three years old at church. This baby Jesus sits gently on our tree, year after year. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 8

It is no secret that I love the beach! Not particularly the sand, but I love the view of any water. It makes me happy and instantly calm. This ornament was bought in Newport Beach, CA a while back. While we lived in Northern California we spent a week in Newport one winter. Orange County holds a special place in my heart because I went to school at Cal State Fullerton and Newport was my playground. That particular trip was a blast as the weather was nice, we went to Disneyland and played in the tide pools. Not to mention, Laguna is right near by and who doesn't love Laguna Beach?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 7

Disneyland has been a huge part of my life. From memories, as a child, to my "fun" days of being in costume there! But my all-time favorite memories of Disneyland are the ones I had there when my children were little. Each year, of our first ten years of marriage, we purchased a Disneyland ornament for our tree. 
We were lucky enough to have season passes while Emma was little and Dayton was a baby and toddler. I will never forget moments like Emma dancing with Snow White and having sparkles in her eyes. Or the time when Dayton had a sword fight with Captain Hook. 
Sadly, Disneyland prices have turned us away a little bit now, but I love reminiscing about our memories with each ornament. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 6

You will soon learn that I am Disney lover...not a fanatic, but I do love the magic of Disney! My sweet mother-in-law knows that about me and, one year, gifted these two Lenox ornaments to the kiddos. They really are so pretty and we love anything personalized, right? The only problem is is that when my kids take all of their ornaments, for their own trees, mine will be pretty bare...oh well, more shopping!

I am so grateful for my mother and father-in-law. They have always treated me like their daughter and are such wonderful grandparents for my kids. It has been such a blessing to be able to live closer to them now. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 5

Today we are hopping across the pond!
Travel is a big part of our family, not by my choice. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sound ungrateful. The experiences we have had, as a family, are insurmountable because of the places we've been to. I just get SUPER anxious about all the details...hence the reason I like to go back to the same places.

But enough talk about me, let's get to these chaps. I got these at The Buckingham Palace shop (one of my favorite boutique-style places) on my first trip to London. I went with my mom and sister and WE HAD A BLAST! My kiddos were little and hubby encouraged me to go. There is not a week that goes by when I don't think of something fun from that trip!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 4

Today's ornament is courtesy of my hubby. He had always been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and, before we met, he served a two year mission in Japan. This ornament is from his mission. 
While he was in Kobe and Osaka I learned more about the church while in college. My older brother and sister had converted while I was very little and I was interested in defending their beliefs while people attacked them. Once I read the Book of Mormon and learned about Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for us, I knew it was true. I have never looked back.
When hubby finished his mission he went to CSUF where I was ready to graduate from. We met and the rest is history and I am so grateful that we are an eternal family! 
I am thankful for his mission and the lessons it taught him, the experiences it gave him and, most of all, the example he is to be a disciple of our Savior. 
If you have questions about anything I believe in, please don't hesitate to ask!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 3

Todays post is dedicated to each of my past students and their wonderful families!
Many, many ornaments on our tree are courtesy of my sweet students throughout my fifteen years of teaching first grade and kindergarten. I, especially, love the ones where they wrote their name and year on it. As I put up my tree, year after year, I think about each student and what they might be doing. It is so fun to see them on Facebook, graduating from college and getting married, a joining the Armed Forces and continuing on in their lives. 
When I taught, I would host my class at my house at Christmastime. It became one of my very favorite things to do because we gathered around the tree, sang songs and munched on cookies. Most years we even pumped up some tunes and had a little dance party! I cherish those memories so much!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 2

This ornament takes us to the island of Hawaii. The first time Mark and I went together was for New Years 1994. I was six and a half months pregnant with Emma. 
I bought this "Angel of Aloha" for our tree on that trip. It is hand made on Kaua'i out of Monstera plant leaf sheath, with shells and seeds. She has held up perfectly over the years and I love reminiscing about those early "newlywed years", especially that magical trip to Hawaii.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 1

Welcome to an "Ornament A Day"!
Each day I will post a picture of an ornament on my tree and tell the story behind it. If you are like me, your Christmas tree is a journal of friends and wonderful memories. What other way to honor that by sharing it and documenting it here? 

If you would like to join in, PLEASE DO! You can share yours on your blog, comment section of my blog, Facebook, Google +, Instagram...anywhere! Just be sure to use the #ornamentaday and tag @jenbottom me so we all can see it too! 

Sure this is a funny looking guy with a broken wing, but this is from my parents first Christmas tree when they were newly married SIXTY YEARS ago! 
Many things on my tree, you will see, are because of my mom. She is a very creative, giving and loving person who really struts her stuff during Christmastime. I am grateful that she has had such an impact on my life and I hope to be such a positive impact on my children's lives. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from the Beach!

This morning I got my early morning run in and I loved how many people were celebrating Thanksgiving in the water. Hundreds of surfers and boogie boarders were hoopin' and hollerin' this morning.

I am grateful for all of you, near and far, in my life!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Introducing "An Ornament Memory A Day" ~ Dec 1-25

It is the BEST time of year! Holiday Time!

Since I have not been able to decorate for Christmas for the past two years I am enjoying putting up my decorations and tree a little early this year. Sure, people may scoff...but I see no harm in bringing the joy of the season into our lives earlier than normal.

I have loved unwrapping each and every ornament while remembering the story behind them. That is why, this year, on this blog AND on Facebook, I will be posting an ornament each day and it's story behind it. I will love the chronicle of why it is meaningful and share it with you! In return, I would LOVE it if you would join in too! Don't have a blog? Go ahead and post yours on Facebook and be sure to tag me so I can see it! Invite your friends to do the same!

So exciting! 
I can't wait to "see" all of your special treasures on your tree!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What I've Been Up To!

Please, please, please forgive me for being MIA. 
I always said I would never be one of those bloggers, but that is exactly what I've turned into.

However, I LOVE why I have been gone for so long. I am working again and I LOVE every single second of it. It has been quite some time since I have been this enthusiastic about anything. It has completely changed my life!

Most of you know that I have become a coach for Beachbody. Last time I posted this announcement, with a video, I really had no idea how much of an impact it would have on my life. I am healthier and more fit than I have ever been. My family is eating healthy six days a week. I help people all day long and the connections and reconnections I have made have been the highlight of the last three months! I am part of a team that is supportive, positive and encouraging. And I get to do all of this while making money! Too good to be true? Nope! And guess what?  I am ALWAYS looking for if you are interested, PLEASE talk to me!

I could talk about getting healthy all day long...BUT there are so many other positive things going on in my life too! Of course, my life IS NOT perfect...but moving to the beach has made it pretty darn close. Sure, there are still trials, struggles, miscommunication and my two teenagers. BUT I can go just down the hill and see the ocean and all feels better. 

With the holidays here, I hope to connect with each and every one of you. Please do not hesitate to comment or chat with me on Facebook. Truly, my friends and family are the most important thing in my life! I hope to hear from you soon!

PS It is truly my desire to post here AT LEAST once a week, so please continue to check back:)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Favorites- 9.13.13

I am starting a new item here for Fall called Jen's Friday Favorites! Each Friday I will post some things during my week that I have fallen in love with and why. I hope that you share your favorite finds with me too!

  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy- I think every single person should read this book! It explains how the little choices we make in our life either add to the success or lack of success in our lives. It applies to spirituality, health, finances, relationships and getting to your fullest potential. I LOVE IT!
  • My Garmin Forerunner 210. My husband recently gave it to me for our anniversary. It is super easy to use, light and accurate.
  • Shakeology Chocolate. I feel guilty when I drink it because it tastes so sinful but then I remember how SUPER HEALTHY it is!
  • Les Mills Pump. I have gotten so much more defined and stronger doing this three times a week! I finally am getting rid of the jiggle!
  • PB2- All natural peanut butter with wayyyy less fat? Yes, please!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Facelift!

The China Great Wall banner is gone and Time Out For Me is officially at the beach! 
And loving life!

I couldn't decide between the lifeguard banner above (taken by yours truly on my morning run) or this picture below. I couldn't just ditch this pic because I really do love it, so I am sharing it here.

What do you think?
Did I make the right choice?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Sneak Peak at a Few Favorites

Hello Friends!
I am just giddy with joy! 
I went to bed at midnight and was up at 4am. What in the world excites me that much? Organizing my new house, of course!

People have asked what it has been like getting back all my things that have been in storage for two years. The only way I can describe it is it's just like shopping...for a store where you love everything! It is the best feeling!

Our China shipment arrived yesterday and I spent all day working playing with all my toys things. Here are a couple sneak peaks about what I've been up to. 

I really loved my stairwell in my last house and how I had gussied it up with beautiful old pictures of treasured family and ancestors. Check it out here. The gold frames really make them look regal but I just could not find the right place in this little beach cottage where they would go. Likewise, I couldn't figure out how to style these unique shelves that are downstairs also. At around 3:34 am it dawned on me and I hopped out of bed to make it happen. The two should go together! Love it when that happens.
I love honoring all of the special people who made us what we are today!
 Our parents, grandparents and some distant relatives who just have cool pictures.

The perfect conversation starter for this conversation area, which also serves as a buffet.
Who says Chinese doesn't go with beach? I have to admit I was a little worried about how this bold piece from China would go with my simplistic beachy vision. This just proves my number one decorating rule: 

This is the perfect piece for our entry way. The shells and sea glass are a perfect compliment.

A great friend graciously housed my apothecary jars for me while in China. I missed them so while I was away. Is that weird to say that about an object? Oh well!
There is a lot more where that came from! 
We've only just begun!
Check back for more soon!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Identity Crisis ~ Before, Then & Now

Holy Moly!
Has it really been that long since my last post?
Blogger doesn't lie, so I guess it has!
Life has been thoroughly enjoyable being back in the United States, settling into a new home and visiting family and friends up North. But all of that fun stuff will have to be in another post...I've had something on my mind that I need to share.

After many long days of unpacking and organizing (and we are not even close yet) I just had to put my feet up. In the back is hubby working and Jupiter just chilling.
When I began this blog way back in 2008, I was a mother of two younger children. I worked part time (sometimes full time) and was busy, busy, busy. I enjoyed home decor and all things pretty and have always enjoyed writing. The name Time Out For Me was perfect as the blog became something to center myself in reminding me that I was more than a wife and mom. Having this blog reminded me that I was still an individual with interests, talents and opinions. The description was a place to inspire and be inspired

Then China happened and my blog description wasn't the only thing that changed. It became from Beijing. So many of my interests hid away in shadows to make way for all of the new experiences I was having abroad. Instead of the blog being just an outlet for me, it evolved into a journal and personal correspondence to loved ones. At times it was my therapy and purpose, for I vowed to never let anyone moving to Beijing have unanswered questions again. Word got out and I began answering emails on a weekly basis and loved sharing my lessons learned.

So here I am. And the lapse in my posting is partially due to the fact that I just don't know where to go from here on Time Out For Me. So much has changed in such a short time. I am not a teacher anymore. My children are now older and much more independent. I moved from the suburbs to one of the most populated cities on earth  and now to the beach. I, also, have another blog that focuses on how I went from unhealthy to healthy, which is now a main focus in my life. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am still molding my vision for Time Out For from the beach. When I get the urge to post, I will post. It may be about home decor, family stuff, travel and fun or I may get a little more gutsy and voice some opinions commentary too. Nevertheless, I want to thank you for sticking with me throughout all the identities this blog has had and I hope you will continue to read as it takes on a new one. Thank you for your support, it means the world to me!


PS If you have suggestions on things you'd like to hear more about...I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our New Home ~ Hermosa Beach ~ My 500th Post!

Who would've ever thought that my 500th post would be about a new house!

The story behind this house is a crazy one. After my "fact finding trip" to Southern California from China I began getting emails for homes in the areas I liked. I must've looked at hundreds of houses and street views from google maps. There were many homes that stood out to me. After we decided that we wanted to rent it narrowed some things down for us. It also redirected our decision from South Pasadena to the beach areas.

It was very common for me to get the realtor emails in the middle of the night, Beijing time. Usually I would check my phone once or twice in the middle of the night, but never had I actually opened the home pics until the next morning. I don't know what was different about this one, but at 3:38am I opened the info and pics for this particular house. I fell in love with the pictures right away and could not go back to sleep! I googled everything I could about this house and waited for hubby to wake up. When he did we immediately applied for it, sight unseen.

We arrived in LA on Friday afternoon and asked the realtor if we could see it on Saturday. When we looked at it, in person, I was thrilled. Hubby was nervous to be taking this step, but liked it. Both kids really liked it. Four out of four people...sold! We signed the papers first thing on Monday! We move in on July 1st...wanna see?
Our street. You can see the ocean, just under a mile away.
We are up on a hill, great for view, bad for biking.
The outside of the home.
 I would never approve of a side entry (with all garage) unless it was at the beach. 

The Dutch Door lets in the ocean breezes.
The owners of the house have lived here for over twenty years and, like myself, never intended for their pride and joy to be a rental. The remodel is brand new and they picked everything for themselves. Then they decided to move to Maui!

Upon entering the house you find the one and only living space.
This will be a HUGE adjustment, as our current home had three living spaces.
I love the blue cabinets with white on top. The counter tops are soap stone, exactly what I woud choose. The door leads to the back yard. 

Butlers pantry with half bathroom.
I love the ample storage for all of my dishes. 

The farmhouse sink and subway tile was a huge selling point for me!
The modern touches are perfect for a beach house. 
The kids will share this bathroom.
The pulls are toothbrushes and toothpaste. 
The daughter's room. She is destined to have french doors wherever she goes. This room has a huge closet with mirrored doors. Perfect for a teen girl!
The view from the daughter's room. On a clear day you can see the LA skyline. Here is a sneak peak of the back yard. I am so excited to have a garden again with climate that won't fry my plants!
The boy's room. This is under debate because this room could be divided. We desperately need the extra space, but he is not giving it up easily. Stay tuned for how that plays out. 
The master bedroom is huge and you can see the ocean from the balcony. 

The owner had this wall closet custom built, lucky us!

The master bath has two motorized sky lights.

The backyard is one of my favorite places.
There is lighting and plenty of space for entertaining. 

The view from the yard. Those doors to the left house the laundry. I will definitely have to get used to my laundry being outside. But it still is a step up from our laundry in Beijing!

 Of course we have no idea how we are going to store all of our extra stuff, but we are excited to make this our home for the next couple of years. Stay tuned as I make it ours. . . and the welcome mat is always out for visitors!