Social anxiety and surviving a blog conference

Last year I attended my first blog conference, Relevant10, a conference for Christian bloggers, and it was just up the road from my home. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote after the conference.

It was a big deal for me, a huge deal,  because I’ve never been to a blogger’s conference before and didn’t know what to expect. Hundreds of women I’ve never met before, all ages and all blog niches brought together with a few things in common…..all women, all bloggers and all Christians.

It WAS a wonderful experience…..mostly. I knew no one, not one person and I was definitely feeling the weight of my social anxiety. I am NOT unfriendly, snobby, stuck up………….I AM intimidated by YOU. I AM terrified of YOU. I AM in awe of YOU. If I were a doggie I would put my tail between my legs and cower in the corner!

Then something wonderful happened. Someone noticed my anxiety and crossed the room and started to chat. That sweet gal was Shelly Noonan. I didn’t know then that she was a published author, I only knew that she was warm and welcoming and beautiful. Later I learned she created Pumpkin Seed Press and writes a blog, B’Twixt & B’Tween which is aimed at mentoring girls and women.


She’s speaking this year at Relevant11. She will be an inspiring and uplifting speaker and sadly, I’m not attending this year.

With Shelly I also met Dani from Domestic Serenity.

Taken from her blog,  a space for preserving beauty, gathering grace, celebrating family, and nurturing the soul. No lavish displays of ‘the perfect life’, instead a humble record of an intentional one, mistakes and all.

She writes about her love of God, family, the pleasures of a simple life and I always come away from her blog feeling peaceful.  

If you suffer from social anxiety like I do,  know that despite your fear, you will meet incredible women at a blog conference! 

  So…….Haven Conference 2012 I decided not to go to Relevant11 and attend Haven12 instead.


  I truly want to meet the fabulous gals of Haven12, but my social anxiety will be with me…. I’m choosing to ignore it…..GULP

  I think I can I think I can I think I can



                Photobucket  Amanda from Serenity Now

asks the question, “what do you do if you feel like the odd man out?” Here’s the part where I’m cowering in the corner…..under the table.

She’s written a post about blog cliques where she answers that question and offers some really great advice.  Some bloggers feel that niche=clique. I’m guilty of feeling that way too sometimes, but I know it’s a coping mechanism  Green with envy….thinking negative of others because you feel left out helps lessen your anxiety.

So if you’re going to Haven12, get over to Serenity Now and read THIS post.  Read her whole Blogging Myths series while you’re there. Blogging_Myths_series_button_Serenity_Now

And remember this, the people you’re terrified of may be just as terrified of you. Just keep telling yourself that!



If you see me and my camera at Haven12, please say Hi, because I have this social anxiety terror and am afraid of you!




Debbie (((xx)))

A Fun Boat Ride around Canandaigua Lake

Recently while visiting my daughter, we spent the afternoon on Canandaigua lake in NY.
At three, my granddaughter Mia is already a seasoned sailor and a real cutie!

My daughter Dawn and Mia enjoying the ride and, of course, baby comes along too.
Homes from water shacks to palatial estates surround the lake.
Wouldn’t you love to see inside? I bet the interior is just as gorgeous. It takes some mega bucks to own a place like this! duh      (SWOON)

This property is part of the Wegman estate, as in Wegman’s grocery stores.
Just imagine owning this property and four boats! Their barn, which is across the road behind this estate, is every bit as spectacular.

This next home is a estate that seemed to go on forever!
Check out the guest house, far left, love it all!

When it was time for swimming, I was too chicken to get in the lake, but Mia wasn’t! She went right in.
Dawn’s “it’s freezing” face.
Time for a little nap after all that fun. Isn’t that precious!
Dark clouds from Irene were rolling in as we headed back.

You can revisit an 08 lake post here to get a glimpse at more beautiful homes.

The few days that we were away, our neighborhood had some wind damage. Some of our patio furniture and large urns were overturned, all of the tomato plants were laying over and a large shrub was pulled right out of the ground. I’m counting our blessings, it could have been so much worse………
SunI hope you have fun on Labor day and embrace these beautiful days as Summer ends, cold will be here soon enough!

Debbie (((xx)))

Some Kohl’s links


Great sales are happening at Kohl’s. Some offers will expire soon and others offer free shipping if you spend $50.


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Have fun shopping online!Computer

Debbie (((xx)))


Target and Kohl’s are affiliates and pay me a small fee per click on ads.

The Living room gallery wall

I previously posted about a gallery wall I was working on in the living room. I wanted to use a collection of oil paintings that I found at yardsales and thrift shops.  While I did like the colors, the scale was wrong and I didn’t have any smaller pieces to add in, so I decided to sleep on it and see what I could come up with.


What I came up with was moving it to the adjacent wall.


The leaning mirror may not look quite right, but I always liked how it added depth to this small room. Ill be on the lookout for something else to put there and keep everything in balance. Right now it’s reflecting the stuff on the other side of the room where I’m working on another project.Smile


Here’s the whole room now, next week I’ll post pictures of the old living room. It was more formal and rarely used! I’m hoping the casual feel of this room will remedy that.



These sconces are another thing I’m not sure about, and I’ll be looking for inspiration for this area too. The pretty mercury glass lamps are from TJMAXX.


The beautiful seascape oil painting is right beside this chair. I got it at a thrift store, of course.


Finally I found fabric for the window panels! I looked and looked and was really disappointed in what I was finding.  I came across this paisley at JoAnn fabric on sale for 6 dollars a yard and bought all they had, 12 yards! I saw some pretty fabrics, but even on sale they were pricey and I wanted something completely neutral so when I grow tired of the blues, changing out the accent colors will be easy.


The rest of these fabrics I already had. They’ll make some gorgeous pillows.


SO that’s it, the room feels bigger and lighter now and that’s what I was aiming for. I’ll be posting the other side of this room and some before and after pictures too. And for a person who doesn’t like to sew….I’m starting sewing project #3, the window panels, they’ll have to be lined, and I’ve finished the slipcovered chairs and another project to be revealed soon. Winking smileI’m on a roll!


Debbie (((xx)))

Online shopping at Target and Kohl’s


Shopping for back to school can be easy if you do online. Computer    Here are some great deals from Target and Kohl’s. Some offer free shipping too.

And you know Target has everything!

Save on Great Backpacks for Back to School at

Back to School – Spend $75, Save 20% + Free Shipping on Select Kids Clothes at Target. com

 Shop for Back to School + Spend $50, Get Free Shipping on Select Items at

Spend $50, Get Free Shipping on Select Movies, Music & Books

 Spend $50, Get Free Shipping on Select Home D?cor Items at

Spend $50, Get Free Shipping on Select Cosmetics & Fragrances at

 Save $5 when you purchase 2 or more select hair care products at

Daily Deals: One Day Only. Always Free Shipping. Shop

Save 5% When Using Your Target REDcard

Check Out Target’s Printable Grocery Coupons


Kohl’s just happens to be one of my favorite stores. I can always find great clothes and they have so many great deals. Check out these Kohl’s deals.

Jumping Beans athletic schoes boy’s and girl’s Now:$19.99, Org. Price: $34.99-39.99

45-55% Off Selected SONOMA life + style, Mudd & SO Apparel

New Balance 553 boy’s Now:$39.99, Org. Price: $50

Vans Bearcat boy’s Now:$37.99, Org. Price: $42

30-50% off girls’ boots Now:$29.99-37.99, Org. Price: $44.99-54.99

School bus

**Please welcome my newest sponsor and drool over the beautiful shoes.

My Glass Slipper, Three shoe stores under one virtual roof.

Happy shopping!

Debbie (((xx)))

Disclaimer: Target and Kohl’s are affiliates and pay me a small fee per click on ads.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, gardening


We plant a garden every year and I have to admit, this year, our garden is a mess. Between too much rain, no rain, pesky insects and rabbits, it’s looking pretty bad.

Despite all that, we are still getting some vegetables. Not as much as we have in past years, but still plenty for us. Our neighbors must be wondering why they aren’t getting many tomatoes or zucchini from us this year.

The GOOD.     We got some absolutely delicious cantaloupe, there were plenty of zucchini for making relish and my husband got plenty of his beloved chili peppers. And I had a burst of energy and actually put up some peach preserves. Put up means canned around these parts.


The BAD.  Cracked and split is how almost all the tomatoes look and an insect is eating them up right on the vine. It has to be insects or birds because rabbits can’t reach that high. Next year I guess we’ll spray them.  We never have before and always got nice looking tomatoes.


The UGLY. This year I tried a new tomato, Black Krim. The pictures don’t show just how ugly they are. When cut open, the edges are black and I thought rotten, but boy are they loaded with a rich tomato flavor and not rotten at all…..just ugly.


We planted a couple rows of green beans and  harvested about…….four! That’s four beans. I saw that the plants didn’t have many blooms on them and sure enough it was rabbits. Our garden is completely surrounded by wire fencing but baby rabbits still get in and had a grand smorgasbord. We didn’t see them because they hid in the zucchini plants.Bunny

Next year a new fence will be the first project on the list………unless Clint Eastwood shows up.



How does your garden grow this year?

Debbie (((xx)))

My Pathetic slipcovers

Dark colors and red dining rooms were the rage and I loved this black and red print fabric from Calico Corners. Several years later I grew tired of it, especially since the decorating trend has gone in the opposite direction and the dining room has been lightened up.

 I’ve been sewing forever, but never attempted slipcovers, so making slipcovers couldn’t be too hard. Right?    WRONG
 I used Miss Mustard Seed’s video tutorials as my starting point. She sure makes it look easy, but I think it takes talent too. There’s no denying that she’s got tons!

And so I began cutting, pinning the pieces together and sewing,

and ripping out and pinning and sewing again. Pathetic, huh?

Then I decided to baste it together.
Amen, that did work better for me. I could see exactly where to sew the seams. WooHoo!

The hardest part was the skirt and I did NOT add piping. Phew, that would have put me over the edge!

Are you ready for the big reveal?

Ta da!

It’s not great, definitely could be better, but I think I like it as it is, loose and casual.
Just check out those wrinkles. Aren’t they to die for? (snort) Wrinkles are so hard to get out of drop cloth fabric.

The back is just plain b o r i n g.

Here’s the spot I had the most trouble with. Since there are two chairs, I thought doing the second one would be easier. I would figure out how to make this better. That didn’t happen!
So now I own two (almost done) slipcovered chairs, wrinkled and puckered and lovely in their imperfections.
I honestly doubt that I would ever attempt to slipcover again, but have you got any tips on making slipcovers? Or a disaster story to share?

Linked to Furniture Friday at Miss Mustard Seed.

Since I’m still not quite finished with the skirt on the 2nd chair I’m linking up to

Creative Kristi Designs

**I changed my mind about the gallery wall in the living room and am rethinking the whole thing. I still need to find fabric for the curtain panels and am thinking about skirting a table in that room that’s on the other wall.  Slow and steady………that’s how I git her done.

Please take a few minutes to comment on the blogs mentioned in this post. Design gives Back has helped many kids with cancer. You can help just by leaving a comment.

Debbie (((xx)))

Design Gives Back, Charlie’s room

Remember Kelee Kadillac from the Kadillac Shack?  Her personal Shack Style is about creating miracles, living with intention and purpose.  She was featured on the Discovery channel, Oprah, Better Homes and Gardens and CNN to name a few. And as founder of Design Gives Back, she writes,

                       Design Gives Back™ provides rooms for hope, health and happiness for those in-need. Since 1992, we have facilitated life-changing workshops, community  programs and inspirational makeovers.

Read Charlie’s story in Guideposts magazine.


Watch Charlie and his family in this uplifting video.

Please  read the full post and learn how your comments can earn even more money for the next makeover and be entered in some great giveaways. 

$100 Gift Card Hobby Lobby

– $200 Gift Card Lowe’s

– 2 Subscriptions to Guideposts Magazine

Ch-Erin crop

An Original Painting by Erin Houghton of

The Painted Garden & also a $50 Gift Card

from kind Erin too!



Each comment earns a $1  donation and each facebook “like” earns a 50¢ donation to help Friends of Kids with cancer.

Your comment on the following blogs between August 12 – 18 will earn 1$ toward another makeover.

Between naps on the porch, Metamorphosis Monday

Spiritual Sunday, Spiritual Saturday

Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound

Country Wings in Phoenix

You can give back when you write your own post to spread the word and earn 5$ to help Design Gives Back!


Commenting here on my blog will not earn 1$, you must comment here or at the above mentioned blogs.

Spread the word, tell your friends and family, every comment counts! 



Debbie (((xx)))

Chocolate peanut butter pie

This is another great no bake Summer pie. Easy peasy for sure.
Last week on my husband’s birthday, it was so hot that I didn’t feel like turning on the oven, so instead of his favorite cake he got a no bake birthday pie.  Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing is my husband’s absolute favorite dessert so I knew he’d like this pie and he did.Thumbs upSo did I!
I even managed to dress it up with some little chocolate curls. I took  a vegetable peeler and just shaved down the side of a Hershey bar. It makes nice curls if the chocolate is at room temperature…….or you could use crumbled chocolate cookies or bits of Reese’s cups.
Peanut butter pie
Mix 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter and 1/2 cup milk until smooth.
Fold in 8 ounces cool whip and put into a 6 ounce chocolate crumb crust. Refrigerate and enjoy!
For another no bake pie recipe, try Mandarin orange pineapple pie. 
Summer no bake pies are so easy, use few ingredient and are delish!  Got a favorite recipe for a no bake pie?
Debbie (((xx)))

I ♥ Faces, the friendship challenge

I’m taking the I_Heart_Faces_noborder_125x100photo challenge this week and entering this  picture of my granddaughter Mia and her friend Avery.

It makes me giggle too. What silly things do you think these adorable 3 year olds were sharing and what’s going on with their hands and feet?
A priceless picture of 2 BFFs chilling by the pool in their Dora swimsuits…….Sun

Debbie (((xx)))

Curbside treasure revisited

In May, I posted about this curbside find and 5$ yardsale lamp.
2top2I decoupaged the top and created a little vignette with a
5$ yard sale lamp.

Just blahblahblah and I knew it needed more.
Strips of burlap tied on a long piece of twine and tied around the shade gave it a little froufrouness… that even a word, don’t know, but it’s cute now.

Black shutters create a backdrop and hide the circuit breaker box.
I added some old books, tarnished silver, one of my chicken wire cloches and my husbands glasses from the 60’s. Yep those are the real glasses he wore and I’m sure he thought he was so cool!  I can use them now as readers! Nerd smile27
The corner doesn’t seem so stark now  It’s so much better with a little fluff. Don’t ya think?
Added to Met Monday at Between naps on the Porch.

Added to Tutorials & Tips Linky Party at Home Stories A 2 Z

Added to Bunny Hop wednesday at Bunny Jean’s Decor and More

I got another yummy summer pie recipe coming up and I’m still working on them dang slipcovers Confused smilebut the end is near.

Debbie (((xx)))

Got zucchini? Make zucchini relish, home canning

If you’ve ever planted zucchini, got tired of zucchini bread and your friends and neighbors just won’t take any more, why not try something like zucchini relish?   Don’t be afraid to try canning, it’s not hard at all.
For the recipe you’ll need 4 quart grated zucchini, (about 4 medium to large zucchini) and 4 grated onions.
A food processor really speeds up this recipe, but you could grate the vegetables with a hand grater. I like to cut the zucchini into large chunks and scrap out some of the large seeds from the fat end.
I had a red and yellow bell pepper so I added them too for a little extra color. You could add some hot peppers if you like a little kick in your relish.
Grate up all your pretty vegetables.
When all the ingredients are grated it looks like this.4Next,  pour  1/2 cup of salt over grated vegetables and let stand 20 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

Combine in a large pot;
3 cups vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 2 tablespoons mustard seed, 5 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1 tablespoon celery seed. Bring to a boil then add the grated ingredients and boil lightly for about 7 minutes.
Now it’s time to jar it up. canning-pantry_2167_45040424You’ll need jars, lids and rings which you can buy in a set, or if you already have the jars, you can buy just the lids and rings.

Wash the jars and then sterilize. I  boil mine, but you can put them in the oven to get them nice and hot. The lids must be hot too and make sure the rings are really clean.
The rims of the jars must not have any chips or cracks or food bits so wiping the rims after filling is a must.
I remove one jar at a time from the hot water, fill it, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace, wipe the rim and add a lid and ring.
Since there is so much liquid, I used a slotted spoon to fill the jars and then a small sieve to get all the bits out of the liquid. I discard any leftover liquid.

Now just wait for the sweet sound of lids a-popping which means the jars are sealed.Thumbs up The lid will be slightly concave if it’s sealed.
How do you use up all your garden zucchini?
If you have any canning tips or tricks I’d love to hear them. I’m thinking of making peach preserves this year too.Smile

Added to Show and Share day at Just a Girl.

Debbie (((xx)))

Goin down the Shore, 2011

When we’re going to the beach we say,  “goin down the shore,” it’s a regional thing, I guess.  I might ask a friend, “you going down the shore this Summer?”

Anyhow, the past few Summers we’ve gone to Ocean City MD  to stay for a couple days with my husband’s daughter and family at a condo they rent for 3 weeks every Summer. Yeah, I did say 3 weeks!

The condo has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and while not luxurious, it’s great for a family. It has anything you might need….. dishwasher, granite countertops, 3 tvs, cable, 2 small balconies, washer and dryer and could sleep 8 people with the roll away bed and pull out sofa bed. Plus, since it’s on a side street with little traffic, the kids can ride their bikes.



It’s just a few steps from the beach and about 20 blocks from the boardwalk. Walk one block and there’s always a bus going by on the main street. Hop on and get wherever you want to go, which is the best way to get around, unless you like driving in traffic. Confused smile


It was hot, too hot. You can almost see the heat in these pictures on the boardwalk. Hazy, hot and humid.


Boardwalk smells made me hungry…pizza, cotton candy, gigantic soft pretzels, BBQ and the best french fries in the world! Thrashers fries, but make sure you douse them with apple cider vinegar and salt.


You just have to get a big bucket of greasy fries!


The shops beckon you to come on in and spent your money on overpriced stuff. Maybe you’d get a tattoo, boogie board or an itsy bitsy bikini, or not!


Just look at that blue sky! So much to see. Beautiful hotels and lots and lots of eye candy are everywhere you look. I loved these little balconies


and this dolphin bench.




The next day we drove to Assateaque Island. It’s about 9 miles from OC.


There’s a wooden walkway heading to the beach at Assateaque and sparkling pure white sand.


It’s beautiful and much less crowded than the beach at Ocean City.


If you buy a special permit you can drive right on the beach.


I could never stand to camp on the beach in 100 degree heat, but it must be nice at night. Campfires are allowed. You could have S’mores.



It’s thrilling seeing the horses. I know we’ve all seen horses before but these are  wild horses that graze openly in the marshes and sometimes near the road.IMG_2123

The feral horses and ponies living on Assateaque and  Chincoteague are thought to be descended from survivors of shipwrecked Spanish galleons off the coast of  Virginia.

Ever been to Assateaque?  It’s a beautiful place.

I really love Ocean City MD and plan on going back next year and staying longer. What’s your favorite beach?


Debbie (((xx)))