Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Adventures of Gnick the Gnome!

Come one! Come ALL!! I am here to tell you about a crazy week...

One of adventure! One of exploration! One of many...
Some of you may know that MaryBeth of DesperatelySearchingforMyInnerMaryPoppins, held the most masterful of contests recently.
Yes, yes, I excitedly entered never expecting to actually win...
But I did and the prize is phenomenal!
We welcomed Gnick into our home with open arms!

He came into the house a little bit naked..but we remedied that in no time.
Now all dressed up and ready to go!

Peanut was so excited to meet his new brother, Gnick!

Gnick the Gnome told us that seeing the sights of Tuscaloosa top of his list!

Sightseeing down University Blvd... yay! Sunshine!

First stop...Bryant Denny Stadium!

There is so much to learn about at the University of Alabama!
(Marcus felt the most important things for Gnick to read about were at the stadium... ;o) )

Here Gnick stands in awe beneath a statue of the great coach Paul Bear Bryant...
Gnick could barely contain his excitement....

After touring campus we headed down to the Riverwalk!

Deep Thoughts
by Gnick the Gnome

Never bite children..they bite back.

When protecting a garden it would be good to watch out for the slugs..they are gross.

A gnome without his beard is sad sad gnome.

Wonder if I float??

The water was beautiful!
Then we discovered a secret place just for us...

Can you see the faeries? This place is perfect for water faeries...

The water tickled!
Then we headed out for a movie! Gnick's first movie!

LEAP YEAR - though it was about Ireland, we did not see one Leprechaun! Bummer.
But it was a lovely movie about love...

POPCORN! Gnick does need to learn to share better (he's a butter hog)....
Afterwards we met some of our was late so we had 'early'breakfast!

Then we showed Gnick a book all about GNOMES!

He was so excited to see the sketch of a gnome on the backflap!
Kaleb Nation's Bran Hambric explores the world of Gnomes & forbidden Magic - check it out!

It was a crazy week of adventures for Gnick & his new family. He watched TV, ate some yummy food & settled right in with everyone.
We want to thank MaryBeth for one cool contest & introducing us to Gnick.
He will have many more adventures & maybe, maybe he will share some in the future.
No matter what we are grateful to have him here!
We hope you enjoyed seeing his journey,
currently he is sitting with Marcus watching The Hangover..
we figured it would be a great lesson in what NOT to do.. ;o)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

will these two LUCKY LADIES....COME ON DOWN!!!

Well good morning! I was up until 12:45 a.m. tallying up some numbers. Why, you ask? Well because I held a contest and there were bunches of entries, silly!

So without further ado... ahem... okay ready?

$10 giftcard
Goes to...... tracyp of Lemons&Lemonade

Now for the next big reveal,
I know, I know shut up Courtney
& tell us who gets the COACH wristlet!
Okay, okay...

if you insist....

but really wouldn't you rather here a story
about A Rolling Apple?




1 copy of Belinda Jones' "THE CALIFORNIA CLUB"
(wonderfully hilarious book by the way)
1 $20.00 AMAZON.COM giftcard
1 COACH wristlet
Carol of Carol'sPrints

Okay Ladies, please email me at clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com using the email you want to communicate with and a mailing address.
For any of you who are disappointed in not winning the wristlet,
My 100 FOLLOWERS contest (I am only 28 away) includes another COACH item...
YES you Read correctly!
but alas this will only be offered up when I reach 100 FOLLOWERS...
I guess we all must wait.... ;o)

*please respond within 48 hours or I will be forced to draw again...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Forget Regrets or Life is Yours to Miss...

The 8 words that title this entry are more than just a line from Jonathan Larson's RENT. They are 8 words that roll through my mind whenever someone asks me do I have any regrets in my life so far. These 8 words just hit their 10 year anniversary mark for me on January 10th. 10 years ago on January 12 I learned all the words to RENT and it has made such a difference in my life. 10 days ago those 8 words rolled through my mind like a steamroller.

10 years ago I moved to Orlando, did an animation internship with Disney, met some amazing people and discovered those 8 little words.

I have always been a happy person, but I didn't truly become the sunshine person that I am until that year. It was my first time to truly experience a world completely different than the one I grew up in. I was 19 and it was time to decide: look at life half full or half empty. I was surrounded by people from bigger cities, who had as much & MORE talent than I did, and people who thought southerners really are the rednecks in movies. I didn't help that stereotype when on my first night I had to tell them what we did in my hometown for fun...

Armadillo hunting,
Going to the Gravel Pit (a real gravel pit not a night club),
The Chimney (again, a real busted old chimney not a night club),
Riding pigs in formal wear (yes not a metaphor - after prom some of us were bored),
Getting stuck (purposely driving your vehicle through deep mud in hopes you get stuck so it is an adventure),
Having a party on the river with ALL (boys & girls) your classmates where everyone spends the night yet the guys need to be gone by 6 so that parents don't know)
"Wars" with mustard, ketchup, eggs, sardines, flour, cornmeal (yeah we weren't cooking just throwing it at each the middle of town...during Homecoming Week)

Needless to say my roommates were beyond awe that when it came to what I considered exciting, those things listed above were my main list. They thought my southern accent was adorable, my smile infectious and that my 'innocence' was their challenge. Yep. They took me to every kind of club, all kinds of events, restaurants, shopping centers, exhibits and parties. They decided that this time spent learning the ins & outs of animation should be peppered with self & world exploration.

So I went to all these crazy places, but as I crossed the threshold of a club and my eyes adjusted to the myriad of lights and music I would smile. Not because I was in awe of this different place but because no matter what - I was still me even in the new surrounding and every time my head hit the pillow. All the clubs, all the events, all the exhibits never could take away the smile, the laugh, the beliefs that my parents instilled in me. Yes, some shocked me, some made me question decisions humans make in entertainment, some made me laugh so loudly I thought I would never be able to laugh again, some made me cry, some made me see my roommates as more than just roommates, some made me miss home while others made me appreciate the intricacies that are hidden in smaller communities.

I was there to decide if animation was the path I wanted to take.
I was there to meet new people.
I was there to experience something new.
I didn't realize then that I was there to meet me.

Jonathan Larson's RENT is beloved by one of my closest friends from that year. He knew every word and had seen it over 30 times at the Nederlander Theater in New York. We met on January 10 - we discovered our kindred spirits on January 11 and on the 12 we listened to songs from that Broadway hit while driving down I-4. We talked about how different our lives were up to this point. We discussed movies, television, music, Disney, dreams, nightmares - whatever we wanted. But most importantly we discussed regrets. It was he who taught me the words to RENT but it was the 8 words above that introduced me to the woman I am today.

I don't believe in regrets. I didn't choose to stay in Orlando or transfer to Burbank. The time spent with the animators, the work spent on a small cluster of trees in a sericel was worth every second. I still get misty when I watch a certain Disney, knowing I colored a couple trees for its designers. But I don't regret being where I am. I don't regret that my first visit to Burbank was last week.

I stood outside the Disney Animation Studio and felt the oddest sensation.

No sadness, just excitement. I looked at the Sorcerer's Hat, all blue with its white stars and the large letters of ANIMATION and I smiled. I took a picture, I spoke to the guard and I turned to walk away. The music and lyrics of No Day But Today filtered through my mind and I could hear:
There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret - - or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today.

I can't control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only hope
is just to be.

As appropriate in Hollywood the music played in my mind as I walked away. Smiling I climbed into the rental car, giggled as I showed my husband the pictures and then navigated our way to the Warner Bros lot.

I still sketch when the mood strikes me or all day long while at work in the corners of my agenda, on napkins in restaurants or when I am surrounded by my nieces & nephews and they request something. I watch animated films with excitement for its creators and a bit of understanding for its artistic design teams. Tonight I watched the Golden Globes & stood clapping for UP. My work in computer animation was shortlived but I fought with the many programs enough to truly appreciate UP's beauty. I am excited to understand the workings of great animation from the best there is.

So ten years ago I met me. This Southern Princess (who knew she was royalty at a young age) who thought she had been sheltered when really she had been prepared. My parents had not hidden the world from me due to geography in fact they had shown me what it meant to be someone who could see the world from all angles and appreciate every single thing it has to offer: the good & the bad.

Today I am a writer who enjoys sketching, who loves to freehand when the itch occurs, who paints when commissioned, who laughs loudly at animated shorts, who enjoys time spent on the couch with my dog Peanut, blogging about life & its many idiosyncracies, who still thinks her husband is the funniest man alive, who loves her parents with wild abandon, who treasures life in the country, who enjoys traveling to expansive cities, who collects vintage books, who reads as though her life depends on it, who remembers every word to a musical that she had never heard of but now cannot imagine being without, who cries at commercials, who enjoys cooking, who appreciates friendships, and who acknowledges that life without obstacles is no life at all.

The path we take is the path meant to be traveled, enjoy the journey because the destination is not always the real reason we stepped out the door.

Forget Regrets or Life if Yours to Miss... No Day But Today.
click this link to listen to this song:
No Day But Today
(freehand sketching on a lazy Sunday afternoon)

Oh I like feet & hands btw, no idea why...

Friday, January 15, 2010


Happy = delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing; characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy
I travel between many blogs on a daily basis. Each one unique, each one a pleasure to read.

Last night I was reading one in particular ( Karen Amanda Hooper ) and I found myself extremely happy to be learning something new. Karen talks about creating a simple html link for when you comment on someone's blog & you want to leave a link to your own (check it out, so simple & really cool).

Many of the blogs I visit have been doing this exact thing in their posts & I always wondered how to do it. Well after sitting down and following her simple instructions I found myself elated to create one for my current contest. Then I laughed. Loudly. This simple trick had made me so excited. I was itching to use it. (Note the new link to the contest on the right sidebar) *giggle*

My husband thought I had lost my mind. But no matter, he simply lives with that thought most of the time. This new technique to learn was perfectly timed. I received a few awards over the past couple of days and well, one in particular applies here.

I received the Happy 101 award from Shannon O'Donnell and Frankie Writes

Is this not the yummiest looking blog award?! The rules are that I must list 10 things that make me happy... (random order)
1. Learning something new
2. Opening the cover of a book I have never read
3. Opening the cover of a familiar book to find myself just as excited as when I first read it
4. My family & Friends
5. My dog Peanut Butter Barr can lift my spirits anytime, anywhere
6. The written it my own or that of someone else, there is nothing like language and its ability to create and explore
7. Sweet Tea
8. Warm sunshine glistening off emerald Gulf waters
9. The smell & texture of an old book...there is magic in its perseverance
10. Fashion... lol.. it, like a book, evolves, creates, explores, defines and perseveres...

So those are my ten...bizarre aren't they? ;o) that one was actually easy. Sometimes I have to remind myself that happiness is such a personal thing. What makes me happy is not guaranteed to top my husband or friends' lists. But every now & then our wavelengths mesh and I remember that shared happiness is special.

Now to pass on to 10 blogs that make me Happy! (forgive me that some of these are return to Sender; I am honored to be in their list and I want them to know that they in turn make mine)

2. Karen Amanda Hooper

4. Cleverly Inked

5. Carol's Prints

6. Sara McClung

7. Shannon Messenger

8. MaryBeth Smith

9. Constantly Risking Absurdity

10. Simon C. Larter

Please check out these blogs. The fact that I smile EVERY SINGLE time that I see their update on my blogroll should tell you how awesome they are!!! Please note that it only asked for ten...if you peruse my blogroll(s) you will find dozens more blogs and they each are special to me!

Then Frankie graced me with another awesome award...however, she is unsure if there are any rules or not to this one so she passed it on to some favorite friend blogs - so I will do the same!

1. JuJu
2. MaryBeth Smith
3. Frankie Writes
4. Shannon O'Donnell

So click away, discover a new friend, find a blog that makes you smile..I promise you won't be disappointed!

Oh & don't forget to enter the contest by January 19 at Midnight!Click on the right sidebar link to enter!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh My God! What Are You Wearing? How does she walk in that dress?! They filmed what here? Roll Tide Roll & a Contest...

What you need to understand is my birthday week had already began on a great note. My wonderful husband threw me a birthday party - not your typical 29 year old birthday party, but one that was perfectly fitting for a Princess:

Aren't my kids adorable? (please note that these are my nieces & nephews - I don't have kids of my own.) That cake by the way - the BEST icing known to man! My mom's fluffy white 7 minute frosting is so yummy it takes my breath away just thinking about it!

On Tuesday we loaded up and headed to California; Burbank to be exact. After a terrible 4 hour delay in Phoenix we FINALLY arrived! The Bob Hope Airport welcomed us with a warm evening and tons of other Bama fans milling about. After some shopping at The Grove, dinner at Morels and a beautiful clutch & shoes from Guess by Marciano & an awesome Prada bag from Nordstrom we crashed at the Biltmore in LA. By the way - a BEAUTIFUL hotel that was gracious, comfortable, historic, & worth every penny (you might note that it was quite inexpensive to stay there - surprisingly enough.)

Wednesday morning welcomed us with sunny skies, beautiful weather & a day of adventure on the horizon. After touring some studios in Burbank, wandering some random parks & landmarks we went back to the hotel for hair, makeup & dressup! Yep - we were heading to the PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS!! All I could picture was Chandler in the episode in Season 7: The One with Rachel's Big Kiss before his wedding to Monica where he wants a suit worn by a celebrity:
Chandler: (sees another rack) Well, what’s the deal with these? These look nice.
Rachel: Oh they are nice. We custom-make tuxedos for celebrities and then when they’re done with them they just send ‘em back.
Chandler: You mean like for award shows?
Rachel: Some of them.
Chandler: You mean these tuxes have been down the red carpet with people yelling, "What are you wearing?! You look fabulous!"
Rachel: Honey, might I suggest watching a little more ESPN and a little less E!?

Okay so here is how it worked: We had red carpet access.
This means we literally could take pictures, wave, possibly have pics with the celebs and generally get closer than ever to some of our favorite stars...IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

Everyone was super nice, Nicole Scherzinger would sign autographs and pose for pics - very nice. James Denton & Jeff Probst were equally kind to the fans. Carrie Underwood is stunning up close, Sandra Bullock is very gracious! There really wasn't anyone who had any sort of diva attitude.

After the red carpet we quickly slipped into the theater. Now they tell you that pictures are not allowed due to it being a Live Broadcast & the interference of flashes & such during the show. Okay I was okay with that - disappointed but okay. We were so close to one of the stages (there were many set around the room) and I knew that some pictures I could get would be AWESOME! Then the show started and the cameras (without flash) came out like crazy!

After a huge debate with myself I said - heck with it, this is the only time I will probably be here why not snap a flash of course for my camera/phone either. Well due to this no flash rule the pics are not perfectly clear and when they were on stages that were far away I did not want to be overtly obvious and zoom so I just left it as is on some.
The stars were wonderful during commercial breaks and allowed some great pictures. At the end of the night when Sacha Baron Cohen was talking about Johnny Depp and his success no one expected him to be there...then out of the left corner we saw the handsome actor finally step into the light! That place went insane! People were screaming, everyone stood up, it was crazy. I almost fainted when I realized how many of my favorite stars were in the same room as me.
It was are some of my favorite highlights from the night!

So yep that was Wednesday night! yeah... I was in entertainment fanatic heaven. lol Dinner in Beverly Hills at The Grill was wonderful! So good!

But the week was just beginning! Thursday we toured the WB Studio lot...The car from Harry Potter! It is actually a working car!

I will forever love our guide "D" for taking me here:

and allowed me this:

I mean holy cow! I have tons more pictures of this portion of the prop-house but this one is my most valuable one! FRIENDS!!! OMG I could faint! loved it.

Also on Thursday we went here:

where somehow I stumbled upon the front row viewing of this:

My beloved Crimson Tide beat the Texas Longhorns and we were able to celebrate like this:

If your team won the National Championship where would you go? duh!:

Before California Screamin:

With my wrist strap securely fastened while riding California Screamin:

After California Screamin':

Then on the flight home Rob Dyerdrek sat behind me on the plane. Honestly it was just a banner birthday week for the Princess! I mean come on this week was crazy! We were so blessed and had such an amazing time! I love my husband - he really worked hard to make it everything I wanted!

So now for the Contest! It seems January is the time for contest! WooHOO! Here is the deal:

How to win:

In the comments tell me the one thing that comes to mind when you hear the word CALIFORNIA and why?

+3 for being a current Follower

+2 for being a new Follower

+1 for listing it on your sidebar or in a blog post (you must leave a link)

So what do you win? What do you win?

Some of you may not know that I not only love Books but I also LOVE PURSES & ACCESSORIES. Los Angeles is an accessory mecca so in honor of its plethora of shopping...


1 Copy of The California Club by Belinda Jones

Synopsis: When Lara Richards jets off to glamorous Califronia, the last thing she's expecting is to find her old friend Helen transformed from a clipboard -clasping frump into a shimmering surf goddess. The secret of her blissful new life? The mysterious California Club. So the offer of guest membership - one wish, guaranteed to come true by the end of their stay - is one Laura and her friends can't resist. Could this be Lara's chance to win her best friend Elliot's heart after ten years of longing? Or does the fact that he's traveling with his brand new fiancee mean that Lara wil have to come up with a new dream...?

1 COACH Wristlet (with dustbag/bought in California)

$20.00 Gift Card to


$10.00 Gift Card to

Sooo what are you waiting for? Enter to win!

Deadline to enter is:

January 19, 2010 at Midnight

winners will be announced on January 20

Open to residents of the US & Canada