A bunch of randoms…

  • I really had no idea how much work an Etsy shop is! I’ve been busy busy busy making new templates/patterns for items in my shop (hello holiday rush!), and then I realize I don’t have many bandannas on the shop. It’s work, y’all, but I’m liking it so far!

 

  • I’ve only lost 7 lbs. so far in this weight loss challenge. I only have a little over 5 weeks left. It’s time to really kick it in high gear. Did y’all know that since the weight gain, I don’t fit in a pair of my jeans anymore? I miss my jeans. :(

 

  • Millie has the fastest growing fur ever. Just recently I started noticing she’s slipping on the wood floors more often. Reason? The fur on her feet is too long, and because of that, she’s losing traction with the floor. Sad. :( She’s getting a haircut on Sunday though. Wahoo!

 

  • I really should spruce up the garden, but I’m feeling a little lazy. It really looks bad. Thank goodness the weeds aren’t growing anymore, though. Maybe I’ll do that next week when I have Veterans Day off…sigh. :

 

  • I also need to paint the shutters. They are still that ugly dingy dark green that was originally there when we bought the house. Time for dark grey. Shutters are just so TEDIOUS though…erg.  

 

  • Would it be a bad thing for me to dig up the Christmas tree in the attic this weekend? Ok, maybe I’m just kidding about this one. Maybe.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend! What are y’all up to?

If you like it, then you should put a STAMP on it!

Is it a little too obvious that Beyonce is on my playlist right now? Man, her music makes me get up and dance around. The dog is usually scared at this point…she probably thinks I’m ill or something.

I still can’t believe how fast the holidays are approaching. I plan to send my holiday cards in less than a month…eek! I started sending Christmas cards to family in college. I propped my Canon SD200 on my chair, sat down next to my little 3 foot tree in my dorm room and smiled…alone.

The picture turned out super cute. In fact, the hubs still has that Christmas card in his cubicle. :) I ordered the cards from Shutterfly, and everyone who received one thought it was a sweet gesture since I wasn’t really near my family in college. :(

This year, our card will have me, the hubs and sweet Millie in it. Not so alone anymore!! :) Of course, Shutterfly came to mind when I started browsing for our Christmas cards. Boy, have the designs gotten awesome! I remember having about 40 choices 4 years ago….this year, they have HUNDREDS!

Here’s a few cute ones that caught my eye….

Images Source

As you can see, they cover religious, modern and traditional card types. :) After a good bit of browsing, I am totally getting this. :)

Image Source

I just love how fun this card is…from the fonts to the colors. It’s classic, but fun and a bit modern, don’t you think?

These are very simple to make too. All you have to do is upload your picture(s) and place it in the card! Then, wait anxiously in the mail for your holiday goodies to arrive. :D

Also, if I were hosting a Christmas party this year, I could see myself mailing these invitations out. Easy peasy and very cute…just sayin’. :)

Now, if you blog like me, Shutterfly is generously offering 50 free photo cards if you blog about what cards you would send this year! Just fill out this form and wait for the email confirmation about the details for what to include in your post!

If you don’t blog though, these cards are extremely affordable, and sometimes, Shutterfly even has coupon codes to make them even more affordable! :)

Do you send out holiday cards?

FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but opinions about the brand are my own. I will be receiving 50 free photo cards from writing this post. :)

I love blogging…

You might already know this, but I enjoy blogging. I find it so neat that I can just write about random topics on my mind, and about 5 (or more) people are actually interested in what I have to say!

I also enjoy reading blogs. I find so many other bloggers to be the coolest people ever. In fact, as much as I’d love to go to get togethers or conferences to meet other bloggers, I have a feeling the introvert in me would show up and make me a quiet, starstruck weirdo. It happens. I sort of think of bloggers as mini celebs. Y’all are crazy cool!

Anywho, lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a bit of a stage fright in my blogging. I start writing and wonder if y’all will hate me or find me lame. After looking through old entries and thinking about the fundamentals, it made me remember that I blog because it gives ME the warm fuzzies. If people grow to hate me, they can simply unsubscribe, right? It’s not like y’all will throw my gym bag in dog poop…heh.

So, this month, I’m going back to the basics. I’m blogging everyday this month, since it’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I hope my AP English IV teacher never finds my blog though. I think she enjoyed writing large “C”s or “D”s on my papers. Sorry Mrs. Thompson…my below average writing has made its way on the Internet. :-P

Hope y’all don’t hate me after this month. :) I have quite a few great bloggity ideas in store!

Another reason I love blogging? The freebies/giveaways!

Y’all…before blogging, I never really won anything. Ok, I lie. I won a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant in 5th grade, because I made the winning poster for nutrition awareness month in elementary school……

Ok, ok.

And maybe I won kids bingo ONCE at my Dad’s company bingo day. $20 Walmart gift card…mmhmm! I bought some major Jane make-up with that…anyone remember that line?

Anyway, since I got into reading the 241 blogs that I read regularly, I’ve gotten hooked on entering giveaways. It’s free to enter, and EVERYONE has the same chances, so why not?!

October was a pretty lucky month for me! I won two pretty awesome things…Christmas in October, for sure!

Check this out…I won a RoadID bracelet from Krista of Commitment is Liberating. RoadID offers bracelets and other items to help ID you in case something bad happened while you were exercising outside. I like to always prepare for the worst…I’ve been known to pass out in high heat, so this was a wonderful prize to win. Thanks Krista for hosting!

RoadID

RoadID 1

You didn’t think I’d leave my information on the Internet, did ya? Ok, well I’ll away that I’m O neg….no worries, I donate this “universal donor” blood regularly. Good karma.  :)

As you may know, I don’t necessarily run marathons, but I am getting back into an exercise routine and just having this on me will make me feel a little more safe while exercising in the great outdoors. :)

I won another giveaway too, though. Complete opposite of fitness…baking goodies! I read a blog called Baby Loving Mama. It’s a pretty huge blog, where she gives away items ALL.THE.TIME. I started reading when she gave away a Coach bag around last Christmas. I’m not into designers, but I figured I’d enter and just probably would have gifted this to my Coach obsessed sister had I won. (Sister of the Year award, anyone?)

Anyway, she had a LIVE giveaway last week. Neat idea…all the readers comment back and forth (this time it was about Halloween baking, since it was a Wilton giveaway) and you have to be a certain commenter, like commenter #100. I didn’t think I would win, but I thought I’d start commenting about royal icing and other fun cookie things. Lo and behold, I won the first prize! Look at all of this baking stuff! Most of it will have to wait until next year…sadly I was sick towards the end of last week. No baking for me.

Wilton Giveaway

Or maybe coworkers will get super late Halloween baked goodies…hmm.

What do y’all like about blogging? :)

A look around…

I like to think about life. When I was in college, I dreamt of a paycheck larger than $100. I thought about how nice it would be to have a job, zero studying and just lay back at home after work. 

At the time, school was all I knew. If I was sick, it was OK to miss a day. If I didn’t feel like going to Calculus that day, I had a friend who would give me notes (I did the same for him). Things were so different then. It was a shock when I threw myself into the real world.

I remember my first few weeks on the job. Everyone, to me, was Mr. this and Miss that. They were, after all, my mentors into the real world. I was used to showing people older than me some respect with the prefixes. However, that got fixed pretty quickly when a big boss told me it makes me sound like a child. I didn’t want to be known as the young one, so I started to call people my parents’ age/grandparents’ age by their first name now. It was so weird, but I learned and caught on quickly. Now, people of that age see me as a colleague. Even weirder.

Now that I’ve been in the real world  for over 3 years, I think ahead to what life will be like professionally. Will I ever be trusted to lead a team? What will my salary be? What will I know now that I didn’t know today? It’s hard to just sit there and do the same old, same old everyday without wondering where I am headed.

Marriage wise, I’m always thinking about the future. Will my husband still find me pretty? Will we still have our date nights? Will I be a good mother? Will I be able to handle a monster blow-out in the middle of Bath & Body Works? How much sleep will I get?

I know l will adjust in the future. Will it be a struggle for a while? Of course. Will I miss today? I’m sure of it. Will there be surprises along the way? Definitely.

Oh yes, surprises. Surprises are a different ball game. Adjusting to the unexpected…welcoming some new twists. Never in a million years did I think I would be taking pictures of food that I cooked and people would CARE about them. Now, my kitchen is my therapy. I play music and make up lyrics to songs I don’t know while onions sweat it out in a pan. I dance around while pounding down bread dough. Me? Sewing? That’s something I didn’t expect to be able to do. I’m no longer cussing at my rotary cutter or finding myself too lazy to change a thread color because I’m afraid the machine won’t work after. I’m making things when I want something, rather than going to a store and buying it. I’m thinking up crafts for gifts and finding constant inspiration in fabric shops. Never thought that would be me. Nah-uh. I didn’t think I’d be able to grow a garden. I used to be that kid who would throw temper tantrums in the middle of the Garden Center of Home Depot. I didn’t care about plants…didn’t want to. Sucky thing was, Mom is a horticulturist and Dad, well, he’s a hobbyist in veggie gardening. Garden Centers were their haven. Now look at me. I email my Mom or Dad when my garden wilts or when I see a funny bug. They think I’m weird now.

I guess a good look around at my life is bound to happen. With paths that I thought I would once encounter closing and new ones always opening, it’s hard not to. Life is really truly what Forrest Gump says it is, but I love it!

A personal challenge

I remember when I was 10 years old, and I was offered a (small) job at the daycare next door to bring garbage cans to a fenced area on weekends after trash was collected. It was an easy  job, and I thought I was high-rolling with my $10/month salary. At the time, my biggest hobby was making friendship bracelets, so I’d always buy DMC floss in various colors whenever my parents brought me to Wal-Mart. Life was simple and $10/month was all that I needed/wanted.

When I turned 14, I started taking on baby-sitting jobs. I earned about $30-$40/night just watching kids make a mess of a house with their toys. Easy stuff…at the time, I even brought my newest hobby, cross-stitching to the homes and worked on that. After the kids went to bed, I’d just throw all of the toys in their containers and I was done. $30-$40 a night? I WAS RICH!

I won’t even tell you how rich I felt in high school, when I made $5.15/hour as a cashier. That was awesome AWESOME money.

Now that I’m in the real world, I’ve come to realize that I hardly ever SEE my money like I used to. Once the paycheck comes, an allotment goes to our joint account for bills/groceries, a good chunk of the rest basically pays off the dental work that I had done a year ago (remember to floss daily, folks) and the rest, well?

The Internet. Ahh, Internet. You make things so easy. No need to find a parking spot or lug bags around…no. I can just put items in a virtual cart, make an account that saves all of my information, and simply, 3 clicks later, my items are en route to my house. So convenient…so crazy. It’s so easy to spend $100 here and there on random things, and then you look at your bank account balance and feel like everything went way overboard.

So, last month, I decided to not make any Internet purchases (with the exception of my dog’s flea meds). The first few days were hard, and over the past 30 days, I missed so many great sales. I had to remind myself that with a sale, you are still spending money, and do you really NEED that?

No. I didn’t. All I needed that month were flea meds for my dog. That was my need.

There was a small crisis that took a good bit of thinking to get through. In the middle of the month, my iPhone case cracked (plastic). I wanted to buy mine off Amazon so badly, because we all know iPhone cases online are dirt cheap. I remembered my promise to myself, and ended up scouring Target and Best Buy for a deal. While not spectacular, I found an opened box iPhone case for $16. I know the Otterbox’s were $10 on Amazon, but I would have had to spend $25 to get free shipping. In my head, I saved $9, at the very least, since it’s nearly impossible to hit exactly $25 on Amazon.

July 1st is today, and I don’t feel tempted to attack a clothing store or accessories. Yesterday, I wanted to buy a cookbook that was 50% off, but last night, I realized my library carries it. I don’t need that $20 cookbook…not at all.

So, on my first day of the Internet buying ban being over, my debit card is nestled in my wallet for the day.

Since it’s a new month, I’m going to tackle a new venture that is a slow money drainer: coffee shops. It’s so convenient to make that my breakfast, but it’s absurdly pricey. So, this month, I’m giving up coffee shops. This should be fun….wish me luck with this one!

Have you found yourself spending too much on the Internet? How do you restrain yourself?

Something Wonderful..

This turned out to be a wonderfully, positive weekend. I decided to just put the funk away, and instead of sulking around watching TV, it was time to embrace a positive attitude like a long, lost friend. I can’t tell you how great this weekend felt, and how optimistic I am about Monday bringing a better week than the last.

Saturday morning, I decided to just sit in my chair and sew. I opened the blinds, let the sweet sunlight in the room and just relaxed while the machine hummed. Great things were happening: I was sewing my first quilt.

Quilt Sewing

After some sewing therapy, I came to realize that all 6 of my quilt rows were done.

Happy note: I only ripped one square out, since it was upside down.

I can’t tell you how much more relaxing sewing is now that I’m starting to get the hang of it. Even though this quilt is just a lot of straight lines, I’m very proud to say I’ve improved since sewing project #1.

Quilt Progress

It’s so crazy to see that my first quilt top ever is almost done. This is just amazing to me.

I’m quite intimidated by these pajama pants. After reading the measurements, I’m going to have to add quite a few inches waist/hip wise to these pants, since our society is obsessed with vanity sizing. I’m normally a size 22, but McCall’s size 22 fits a department store size 16. Totally dumb, right? I bought some muslin to play with adding inches, because I don’t want to ruin my pretty fabric figuring this out. Maybe I can get these done by the end of the month? Hopefully, at least the muslin version.

PJ Pants Pattern

Since we are having company over this weekend, I decided it was best to make the craft room more inviting, and to fold my fabrics in a basket, rather than keep them scattered across the guest bed. Looking at all of these fabrics next to each other is just so deliciously colorful. I love it! I’m feeling less overwhelmed now that my craft/guest room is clean again. Maybe that made the sewing less stressful?

Fabric Basket

Sunday morning, this little girl kept my spirits high. How can you not be happy looking at this face? We did have a long day ahead of us, and her smile kept me going. I love this dog. :)

Millie 6/20/10

It was, of course, Father’s Day. My Dad is the guy who buys everything he wants/needs, but as a very money savvy guy, I bought him an Entertainment book and a GC to Wal-Mart. Don’t judge me here Wal-Mart haters. I know I could have bought him a Cabella’s card (he LOVES hunting) or something else, but this is a store I know he will actually spend money at without feeling forced. I remember our weekly Wal-Mart trips…beat the heck out of going to the Mall with Mom! (No offense Mom…you know I hated clothes shopping!)

Father's Day Gift

Here was the main part of my Sunday. My little sister, who is a senior in high school (feeling old right now), played Lady Thiang in “The King and I” for a local production. It was nothing short of spectacular. I wish I had a voice like her!

I ended up taking over 100 pictures of the production, because I found out the videographer that the production hired ended up quitting on them (terrible, right?). I know my sister loves memories of every show she is in, so with my new lens, I went wild on the pictures. Parents of cast members were even asking my Mom to ask me to get shots of their child, since the point & shoots apparently couldn’t get decent pictures without use of a flash. Before you call me rude, I tried to take pictures only during the lively parts, so no one would hear the shutter click. :) No judging allowed..now these kids have memories!

Oh, and a side note, her costume? My mom sewed them (she had two). She’s amazingly awesome with a needle.  

Lady Thiang

How did your weekend go?

Once a failure, now a success!

I can’t tell you how good it feels when something you fail at previously, succeeds. Around this time last year, I had my very first vegetable garden. I longed to have a garden like my Dad’s. He would bring in tomatoes every afternoon after work in the summer, and we’d snack on them with salt/pepper shakers handy. They were just that flavorful, delicious and full of love. Dad worked hard on his garden every year, and I had high hopes that my genetics would help me. My mother is a horticulturist and Dad is a garden hobbyist.

I’d love to tell you how many tomatoes I had. I ended up with 10 cherry tomatoes, out of one cherry tomato bush and 6 creole tomato plants. It was discouraging, to say the least. This was the culprit, along with a painfully dry summer, which made manners worse, since the pests LOVE dry weather. No amount of watering plants made them leave.

Thinking back on it, I realized I used a lot of Sevin pesticides, and perhaps, that killed the good bugs that would have loved to eat on some spider mites. So, I decided this year to stay as organic as I possibly could.

One month ago, I discovered what I thought were assassin bugs living all over my tomatoes. Good sign, right? Well, those turned out to be leaf footed bugs in their nymph stage. Not good. Since these bugs are resilient to most pesticides, I would have to put on garden gloves (they apparently bite) and pluck them in a bucket full of water or throw them on the ground and stomp them until their aqua guts came out (yes, they seriously had AQUA guts!).

Two weeks ago, I found two stink bugs. Ugh….I basically threw the two in a bucket of soapy water and watched them drown. I’m heartless. Since then, it seems like there are no pests. ::knock on wood:: I’ve harvested 10 super fantastic tomatoes this season so far. They are tasty, mostly organic and all MINE. Hubs hates tomatoes. :)

Note: There is a funny story as to why they are MOSTLY organic. One day, there was a leaf footed bug that looked like it took steroids the night before. It was HUGE. I tried to throw it in a bucket, but before it landed, it flew. The #$%@ bugs can FLY?!? I screamed like a high pitched toddler, ran to the shed and got Sevin spray from last year. It landed on a tomato, and I doused that tomato with Sevin until the bug died. That tomato, however, was thrown in the trash.

Here’s my garden today…beautiful red tomatoes and baby bell peppers growing. :) I’ll say this year is SO much better!

Vegetables 6.17.2010

Now, flower wise, our pansies died. My mom warned me that pansies can’t stand the summer that Louisiana brings, so I went to Lowe’s and bought the flowers on the left to replace the pots with. :) It said “feather flowers” on the label, and I think they are just pretty.

The flower on the right? It was once this….I can’t believe how tiny it once was! :)

Flowers 6.17.2010

Now, ever since the rainstorm that lasted a week, which was a couple of months ago, our meyer lemons started growing again. Before that, we thought it fizzled for the season, but check out how much they are growing! I’d really love some summer lemonade, little tree. Just sayin’.

Oh, and to the right? That’s no longer known as veggie garden. This was a veggie garden.  Rather, it’s veggie jungle. The tomato plant on the left side of the arbor is my height. I’m 5’11”. Go tomatoes!

More Garden 6.17.2010

This year’s garden is just so encouraging. I mess up at a lot of things, but it’s great to see that a fail can turn into a success! Have you had any failures turn into successes lately?

Our First Anniversary: Part 2 – The Dinner

The evening of our anniversary, we decided to use up a gift card we had for this Italian place that gets raving reviews from the locals: Little Village.

Since our anniversary was Sunday, the restaurant really wasn’t that crowded at all. Gotta appreciate that. :)

The restaurant

We enjoyed some of their cheese bread with an olive tapenade-type dip. I had the chicken marsala and the hubs had shrimp fettucine alfredo. All of it was FANTASTIC!

Afterwards, we went home and rested for a while. Our bellies were full, but we had a cake to eat. It was time to unveil what a year in the freezer does to the cake.

Anniversary Cake (wrapped up)

After 6 layers of saran wrap and two layers of foil, the cake was unwrapped. Not too shabby looking, in my opinion. And no, the green on top isn’t mold. Rather, it was some icing decoration that was holding the flower topper on the cake. :)

Anniversary Cake

The only issue with the cake was that it easily separated from the frosting. No big deal. The cake, otherwise, was just  as flavorful and moist as the wedding day. :)

Anniversary Cake Cut

We had our cake with some champagne that the reception venue gave us as we were leaving last year. I admit, we had to watch a YouTube video on how to open champagne…classy, right?

As for the anniversary gift that I gave the hubs, I received some comments/tweets requesting some of the little favors that I wrote on paper. There were 26 of them, written twice. These are the ones I can recall. I’m too lazy to open the jar and read them.

  • do all of the extra laundry in the house, like linens, towels, etc. (he prefers to wash his own clothes)
  • bake favorite dessert
  • cook favorite meal
  • bowling night
  • mini golf night
  • date night (he chooses whatever)
  • going out to eat at favorite restaurant
  • house to himself all day (includes taking the puppy with me)
  • wash his car
  • mow the lawn
  • take out the trash all week
  • no nagging pass (use it when I’m arguing something and he just wants me to shut it)
  • dishes for the whole week
  • play video game of choice
  • watch movie of choice
  • remote control for the day
  • no blog reading/writing for a week (blogging is time consuming, so this gives us more “us” time)
  • free favor (you name it)

I have to say, our first anniversary was awesome. :) What did you/are you doing for yours this year?

Our First Anniversary: Part 1 – His Gift

One year ago yesterday, I married my husband.

I can’t believe how fast the year flew by. I remember sending our invitations, shopping for dresses and the jewelry making adventures during planning.

For my gift to the hubs, I had to make it. I just couldn’t avoid crafts for this. For crying out loud, the first year gift’s tradition is paper. Doesn’t that scream craft me?!

Anywho, I went to Hobby Lobby, and picked up scrapbook paper (in our wedding colors and some lovey dovey paper prints) with a candy jar. I was on a mission.

The idea? To show the hubs that it’s the small things that matter. Tiny, small favors that brighten the day. I wrote down 52 small favors to do for my husband (one each week this year). These favors range from washing his car to cooking up his favorite meal to giving him “me” days in the house.

This week, he picked the one where I say I’ll do all the dishes this week. Ack!

Here are the 52 small favors all folded up.

Anniversary Gift

I know, duh. Pick one every week…hubs knows what he’s doing, but I couldn’t help it. I had to decorate the lid somehow.

Anniversary Gift

I wrote on the side “It’s the small things..”. Originally, I actually wrote “All the small things”, because that darn Blink 182 song was not getting out of my head. Thank goodness paint pen just scratches off.  Ugh…

Anniversary Gift

I wanted to wrap it up fairly special, so I put the jar in a box filled with teal paper and wrapped it, adding a cute tag that I won from this Etsy seller. I’m a little sad that this seller doesn’t have these gift tags listed anymore. They are gosh darned cute!

Anniversary Gift

The verdict? He loved it!

The hubs made me a cute coupon book with similar ideas, but of course, relating to things I would appreciate. :) I’m really excited about it!

Next year’s anniversary gift theme is cotton. That’s definitely another one that screams crafts to me! Hopefully, my sewing skills will be more up to par next year. :)

A renewed me..

I’ve been in such a funk lately, and I felt like nothing was going to change for me for a long time. Everyday was same ol’-same ol’ to me, and it was hard for me to see the positives and appreciate the little things. 

I think God realized this, and decided it was time to show me exactly how quickly I can change. I’m not super religious, so this isn’t going to be preachy, but it’s funny how things in life can be related directly to you. For me, it was our garden.

The same garden that no matter how many times I tried to water it to make it look better, it wilted.

Same thing went for my life, it seemed. I’d sew something, hugely mess up, and have to rip the seams, only to have the fabric itself rip…fail. The mess in our house was getting out of hand, and I had no motivation in me to clean it. I had no motivation in me to really do anything fun. I just wanted to sit on the couch and be lazy. Things were bad, and I needed an intervention.

Well folks, it rained Saturday…literally poured.  Sunday, it rained…Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday..all rain. It was getting a little depressing after a while, and I just was in a funk, until Thursday.

Thursday was a wonderful day. Thursday’s surprises shook me and made me realize that while things might look bad for a while, things can change for the better. It takes something drastic, like, say, a 4 day rainstorm, but things can most definitely change.

Staring at the garden yesterday helped me to realize just that. We have a tree full of baby lemons. That same tree last week had no flowers, full of dead/burnt baby lemons. The rain jolted it awake, and it’s just looking more alive than ever.

lemon52010

The first jalapeno showed up on our pepper plant. The same pepper plant that was looking fairly pathetic next to the bell peppers and tomatoes.

jalapeno52010

The tomatoes exploded in size, and the plants are thriving…pesticide free still. (Thank you companion plants).

tomatoes52010

The hydrangea that never bloomed last year is showing signs of life.

hydrangea52010

I even got a complete surprise in my garden. A begonia I never planted, in the middle of a garden full of dianthus. I thought it was a weed 4 days ago, but it bloomed into a little surprise. :)

begonia52010

Looking at our garden has made me realize that yes, things can look bad in life for a while. Just don’t avert your eyes away from the little surprises that are trying to give you a chance to change that outlook. :)