The Art of Lori Hannah Gutierrez

What I love about Country Roads is the "variety" of talent that makes up our Country Roads family. From quality antiques, to awesome vintage displays, to artists, we have a bit of everything. These pictures are of Lori's work. She is in a very small area right now but will be expanding tomorrow to a much larger space. I can't wait to see it! Right now, she has a lot of mermaid paintings on display that are for sale. Since I'm such a beach freak, of course each of these appeals to me! These painted shells on old vintage bottles are over the top! The detail of the mermaids is incredible! Lori's work is very detailed and beautiful and colorful and most of all, original! Another speciality Lori paints are crowns. This isn't the best example of what she does but all that she has right now. One of our customers cleaned her out last week. You can also find some great painted bracelets among other creations of Lori's! This little painted mermaid suitcase found its way home with me a few weeks ago. Fits in perfect in my bedroom that is a bit tropical and beachy! I hope you find the time to stop by next week and see what Lori is up to with her new large area at Country Roads. You know, Country Roads. . . always your favorite, never the same!


A Little Bit of This & That!

One thing that never, ever happens in my life is boredom! I've always got something going on. This past week, Roger's Garden shopped with us. For those of you that live out here, you know how awesome their nursery and store is. Just look at their truck, the design on it, that says it all!! The displays they do inside of their place are over the top. I loved their last Halloween display. I have a picture of it somewhere showing what they did with the stuff they bought from us. I'm very anxious to see what Roger's has planned with this load. And on top of it all, they are the best and easiest customers ever!! Speaking of customers, you know how very important customer service is to us. We even let people that aren't "exactly" our customers take morning naps in the driveway behind our store! With closer inspection, Bryce verified that this guy was indeed alive and well. He was so comfortable they just let him continue his morning nap and sleep it off! I always say we are in the ghetto end of Old Towne Orange, see what I mean? I finally got a chance to have my Friday escape to the movies. I chose to see Crazy Heart, and I totally fell in love with it! I now know why Jeff Bridges is nominated for an Academy Award. As I've mentioned, I love to go to the movies by myself. It is "my" time, and it was nice to have some of that yesterday. If you are looking for a good movie to see, I really would suggest Crazy Heart. And by the way, Jeff Bridges can really sing!My day ended with my "men" (Bryce & Matt) playing with Morgan in the middle of the family room floor last night. Matt had brought a big bag of clothes over for Morgan that use to belong to his baby girl, Hannah. I have to tell you,my heart still aches over Hannah's death this past Christmas. And the smiles on the boys and Morgan's faces were so beautiful but a little bittersweet as well. My boys may have become "men" but they will always be MY boys! Have a great week-end, and hey, stop by and see us. What better place to spend a rainy day than at Country Roads!


I've been "thinking" a lot lately, probably too much!! I've had trouble writing because my head has been so full of so many different thoughts. I think a week or so ago when I realized that people actually "read" what I write here, it pulled me back into myself a little bit. Not sure why I felt that way. Lately I've been thinking about "changes" in my life. I was like so many others, did the usual stuff when I was young. Went to college, got married, had kids, worked part time in a grocery store until I got robbed at gun point which ended that exciting career, all the usual things we do. I always thought my life would be "regular". I always liked "regular"! And "regular" means like everyone else, the usual stuff. You get married, you buy a house, have some kids and you live happily ever after. I did get married, and get a house, and have three kids and wanted a fourth but my Mr. Wonderful didn't want anymore, or so he said. And sadly, it wasn't always "happily ever after". I loved being a mom, and spending time with my kids. Mr.Wonderful wasn't quite as excited about raising kids as I was, but I loved it, still do. When my kids were all in elementary school, "we" or more like "I" opened Country Roads back in January of 1993. And with that, those changes began. Money was better, vacations were nice, and we left our first home to buy a bigger house in a fancy neighborhood. It's a story that everyone knows all too well. But like a lot of things, "change" does happen. Inside I was still humble, still pulling for the underdogs in life while Mr.Wonderful enjoyed completely different things. Money does things to people which was the case with him. So, as stories go, we divorced, it was ugly, and our "perfect" lives were turned upside down. The big fancy house was sold, and I was able to buy a house in a "regular" neighborhood which I love. And through it all, you somehow muster up the strength to pull yourself together and move on. My kids grew up just fine, even with a few stumbles along the way! And considering everything they have been through, I couldn't be prouder of them all. They have given me a couple of beautiful grandbabies as well, Riley and Morgan. They mean the world to me and I've got another grandbaby due in July as well! I like this role of "Gramma", it suits me well. I never understand when women tell me they hate to me called "Gramma". Bryce, Justine and Morgan live with me. Years ago would I have thought about my kids having kids and living with me? Probably not, but actually I like it and they help me pay the bills. And Katie, Vinnie, and Riley are living in my parents house, in the house I grew up in, although its been remodeled. They bought it after my parents died. We take Riley "trick or treating" on the same streets I walked as a child her age.Brande is living down in Seal Beach and gets to enjoy the ocean every day. She enjoys her nieces, her freedom, and always has a hundred things and projects going on at once!! I am blessed, I'm lucky to have "family" in my life, to have a store like Country Roads which is also a big part of my family! I'm also blessed to "accept" CHANGE so easily. You've got a choice in life when you get tossed in the ocean, you either sink or swim! I chose to swim and as I paddle along in this journey of mine, I accept CHANGE, I welcome it. I "think" it keeps you young. Tomorrow my kids are going to a birthday party. It is Mr.Wonderful's "baby boy's" first birthday! He re-married awhile back. Who would have thought at their ages they would have a baby. But who am I to judge, not my journey to travel, that is his and his wife's journey as older parents. What I love about MY family is they too "accept" change and just roll along with it as well. I think about Riley starting pre-school soon, Morgan's first birthday coming up in a few months, and about my brand new grandbaby due in July and I again welcome CHANGE! I loved when I was in my thirties, and I have to admit, I also love being in my fifties. Guess it goes back to that sink or swim theory, and for me, I keep swimming one stroke at a time. Here's the lyrics to Stevie's song that I've been humming to myself lately!

Landslide. . . .

I took my love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Till the landslide brought it down

Oh, mirror in the sky - What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I don't know, I don't know

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
Because I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children get older
And I'm getting older, too

So, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
The landslide will bring it down


Another "Take" on Country Roads

It is always interesting to me to see what catches other people's eyes at Country Roads. Steve Small, a dealer at Country Roads, took all of these photos the other day. And I do have to say, the one above with Katie and Riley is my favorite! As many know, we train our staff very young, and as you can tell, my little Riley already has mastered measuring!! Here a few more photos that Steve snapped at the store.

The time passes so fast these days. I look at Riley "working" with her mom above, and am amazed at the passage of time. I also look at the displays and merchandise above and now how fast that turns over as well. There are days, more lately for me, that I just wish I could slow things down a tiny little bit. Thanks Steve for sharing your photos!


White Wednesday

On this "White Wednesday" I thought I would post some of the varieties of "whites" we have here at Country Roads!

For more great "White Wednesday" photos, stop by our friend Kathleen's blog! Her picture alone are worth the visit! Happy "White Wednesday" to you all!!


A Busy Tuesday

I'm tired today. Sometimes working at my favorite place in the whole world, Country Roads, takes a lot out of you both physically and mentally. I'm dragging this morning, even though I've got laundry going, and many other things done all before 9am! Riley, my little three year old granddaughter will be here soon. We will have time to play for awhile, then off to the dentist I go to have a tooth pulled late this afternoon! So, sadly, I guess it isn't really a day off. I do however, have some random pictures to share this morning that I took at Country Roads yesterday. We have such a variety of things in the store right now, thought I'd share a few of those things!

While some stores concentrate on limiting their merchandise to a certain style, I have to say that I personally enjoy the diversity of Country Roads. We, meaning myself and my Country Roads family, not only have something for everyone, but we concentrate on display and vignettes and most important, customer service! I think that is what makes the store so much fun to shop in! And as always, thank you, for continuing to shop with us all these years and the really nice comments you leave me on this blog. It truly means a great deal to me!


"BSC" Sunday!

Well, yesterday, truly was another "Bat Shit Crazy" Sunday! What I've discovered is these types of Sundays, the BSC's usually occur under two situations. The first is my full moon theory. BSC's just come out of no where! It is like a bus full of lunatics pull up to the store and just go nuts on us! My second theory is the BSC's come visit us on Sundays that there has been a flea market! They feel that shopping at Country Roads is ALL about the "wheelin and dealin" accept they don't have a clue what comes out of their mouths. For example, my favorite BSC customer yesterday was one that started the conversation like this. "I'm interested in something over here". Of course I have NO idea where "over here" is. I follow the customer throughout the store because I know they are lost and don't have a clue in the world where they are. So, I just patiently walk behind them as they circle Country Roads!! Finally we find the space. What they are interested in is $200. The BSC customer starts the conversation like this, "I've been shopping in other stores in Orange and a lot of stores have stuff that is 50% off, is this 50% off"? I breathe deep and calmly just say, "no". Then it starts, you know the critical comments like "it's dirty" or "it's been here for awhile". etc. Finally the BSC customer TELLS me they would like to make an offer of $75 on the $200 item. Again, I breathe deeply and reply, "I really don't think that is going to happen, but I will call and see what their best price is". Which I do, and when the dealer asks me what they are offering, all I can tell him is "you really don't want to know, it's BSC Sunday"!! After THAT customer, I had to leave the counter without my "walkie talkie" and go to the garden! I sat on a bench and took deep breaths and savored the moment or two that I didn't have to answer a customer, or the phone, or anything else. Of course once I went back inside it all started over again, and my peaceful moment was long gone!! After work, I met my family at El Torito to celebrate Justine's birthday. It helped me forget the BSC Sunday I just experienced. And when I ordered my big, delicious Pomegranate Cadillac Margarita, life was a little calmer. Damn, those BSC customers can really wipe you out. Thank God its Monday and I have a week to recoup!!


Just In!

It is always exciting to me to have someone new join our Country Roads family. Georgia moved in last week on the days I was off. So when I came in this morning it was a nice surprise, a really nice surprise!! And I really like the way all of her displays and vignettes turned out. Here are a few pictures of what just arrived!

I really enjoyed the "darker" colors that Georgia is using to display with. It is a perfect fit for the store, and everything looks absolutely awesome, thanks Georgia!!

My Old Neighborhood

I had dinner last night with Brande at our neighborhood pizza place, Marri's! It is just around the corner from my house and we could have walked but it was raining. I use to eat at Marri's when I was in high school! Yes, it's been there THAT long. They have great pizza, so-so service, and really, really horrible Italian music playing. My friend Ginny had emailed me asking me a question about how to do something on her blog, which by the way you should go read! I was emailing her an answer and also about the place I had dinner at. Still being amazed that I've eaten there since I was in high school. Actually it was our hang out back in the day! Right next to Marri's is a dry cleaners, Montgomery Cleaners. That was my very first job, I made $1.65 an hour! But back in the day, it was enough to join my friends at Bob's Big Boy for a combo plate. And actually the building Bob's was in is still nearby, but is now a Blockbuster. I hated that job. They did the cleaning on site, and the smell was enough to make anyone gag. God only knows what chemicals they were using way back then! I went to Millikan High School, and as you can guess, that too is just "down the street"! I was in a soriety, Tabu, and that is a soriety picture of me above (not sure why its so big though. I loved high school, but not because of the academics, but because of my friends and hanging out at places like Marri's and Bob's Big Boy! I ate meat back in the day, which I gave up a very long time ago!! Life seemed so simple back then. As many of you know, Katie and her family bought my parents house after they passed away, the house I grew up in, just a short distance from where I live now. Riley has joined us for dinner at Marri's, bad music and all. I love East Long Beach, the part of Long Beach I live in. Cal State University Long Beach is within walking distance. The beach is only a ten minute drive, a nice mixture of people in my neighborhood, and now my grandbabies are growing up in the old LBC too! I like simple, you know, it makes me happy. Here's a link to an article that was in our local paper this morning. Wilson HS was always a big competitor against Millikan's football team, "back in the day". This article is just another example of why I LOVE Long Beach!!