Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goodbye Etsy... for now

I was dreading May.

Don't get me wrong... I LOVE the mild-warmish weather and the month has been so much fun celebrating Houston's birthday - yes, that's right... we have been celebrating the whole month!


May is when I knew my Etsy shop would go "dark".

I had two remaining items in my shop that expired this month (the flowers for a Valentine's Day lollipop bouquet) and I had decided to not look for more birdcages to sell (read more {here}).  I am looking for more "margin" in my schedule and birdcages was one thing I was ok giving up.

I have only logged onto Etsy twice after the listings expired - It was sad to see the blank screen staring back at me.

Hopefully, I can revisit Etsy as a seller [of something] some day - I will just wait on God to open the door (or the cage) when the time is right.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What We Did Last Weekend - Memorial Day

"All were deprived of their liberties so that you may enjoy yours..."

Our weekend started with remembering the men and women who have served our county and have allowed us to have our freedom and liberties. Houston and I were up bright and early and volunteered at the riverside national cemetery to help place 100,000 flags on the headstones. This is a joint effort with a "flag for every soldier" effort that I discovered on Facebook. Click {here} for more info.  We placed 80 flags and then went for a walk to decorate my grandparents graves (since they were in a section of the cemetery that was not receiving flags - if you're interested in helping raise money for flags for the entire cemetery, I encourage you to do so!). - Houston and I are both of the opinion that our country needs a great kick in the pants and that pride in our country-- and all it has to offer--needs revival. Like, NOW!

We walked to the POW memorial - the sculpture made my emotions bubble up all over again.  It was beautiful and disturbing all at the same time.  Do you see the silver bracelet on Houston's right wrist???  Ask him about it some time, or ask me for more information regarding POW/MIA bracelets.  

Then we drove to the south end of the cemetery to the Medal of Honor memorial.  Amazing.  Walking the walls COVERED with the names of the men who have died for our country and for each other was truly a humbling experience.  "Unknown but to God" - Indeed, In God We Trust.

Then it was off to celebrate Houston's birthday [again]!!! Since it was a long weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to get everyone together for dinner. A group of 12 of some of our favorite people joined us at Wood Ranch for delicious food and fun!  We seriously have some awesome best friends.  We had a wonderful time eating and I loved getting to see the cute kids too (of course).  

Sunday I got to spend some MUCH needed girlfriend time with Shauna - but didn't take a single picture.  Between Memorial Day emotions, bidding farewell to my friends the Browns and well, just being an emotional female, a relaxing afternoon with Shauna was just what the doctor ordered.

The rest of the weekend was spent in  Long Beach relaxing by the sea.  A belated Mother's Day for Ruby filled with food and a whole lot of relaxing!!! I loved taking a nap with the cool breeze blowing through the living room window and going for a walk down to the water with Houston.  The weather was beautiful albeit windy, and we loved standing on the sand watching the wind surfers (such a silly activity) and smelling the sea!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Going mobile!

Watch out world... 
I just installed the blogger app on my phone!!! Brace yourself for more frequent blogging!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What we did last weekend - Birthday Edition

I LIVE for the weekend.

No, seriously... lately it is all I can do to shuffle through the week, surviving the stress of one very uptight co-worker, tripping and struggling through an online class with a HORRIBLE textbook, and just feeling like I am always six steps behind where I need to be!  I have made a bad habit of staying up WAAAYY too late on Friday nights, just cleaning my apartment, reading my favorite blogs or just vegging - it is like a huge sigh of relief when I walk through the door and know that the next 36-ish hours are all about relaxing/having fun/doing what I want/need to do!

Last weekend was a BLAST... in fact, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!!!  UGH.

Houston's birthday was on Friday and I arranged to have the day off!  Hooray! I spilled the beans and told Houston about my request and he INSTANTLY declared he wanted to go to Disneyland. Now, you know that this would never take any convincing on my part, but I wanted to do what HE wanted for his birthday, not what he knew I would love!  He insisted and we made plans to visit the Happiest Place on Earth!!! [indeed]

Thursday night I had Curry Fried Rice from our favorite Thai restaurant, a coconut cream pie and delicious beers waiting when he got home from the train.  Yum!!!

[this is what happens when you leave all the birthday supplies hidden in your car while at work for 9+ hours, dang... at least "birthday" still looked alright]

Friday we were up and at 'em and did some birthday celebrating at Houston's house... Orange cinnamon rolls and presents!!!

We got to Disneyland by 10:30...  I really don't think I will ever accomplish arriving before the park opens - it just seems impossible to get out the door that early!

Perfect 73 degree weather, a busy but not insanely full park and quality time with each other made it a wonderful WONDERFUL day.  I am beyond blessed to call him MINE!

I wish I could go back and just sit on the curb on Main Street USA forever.  I really wanted to see the parade, so we camped out an hour ahead of time to get a great spot and just enjoyed people watching [baby watching was really more like it - I seriously could have died from the cuteness!]  Holding hands there on the hard concrete, I told Houston "I love you".  Yep.  For the first time.  And I do...soooo much.  Seriously, how did I get so lucky???

At the end of the night we enjoyed the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty's Castle - such an awesome day.

Saturday I made good on a promise from last year and tried to go golfing with Houston for his birthday... what I considered an epic fail at golfing still ended up being a delightful day! We used a Groupon for a course in Murrieta and the weather was perfect a second day in a row!!! - Thank you, Lord!

I haven't been on a course in over three years, and I have NEVER tried a full course... needless to say, I was completely self conscious and intimidated.  My hands and arms totally gave out on the sixth hole and I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sunshine, driving the golf cart [FUN] and soaking up the view of my man killing it on the golf course!

Thankfully Sunday was indeed a day of rest.  Church, Portillo's for lunch and then an afternoon of almost nothing!!!  delicious!  I clipped coupons and Houston laid on my couch organizing music files with the new Google Music.  That is my favorite part about our relationship... yes, the Disneyland and golfing was fun [duh, it is Disneyland] but we love just being together... even if it is doing silly stuff like coupon trips to Target.

Happy Birthday, Houston.  I love you.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Birthday Baggie Banners

So this year, Houston's  Metrolink birthday party paled in comparison to last year... lame.  I was much more focused on our plans for the weekend, his actual birthday and working my butt off to finish my homework ahead of schedule so I could have a relaxing and stress free weekend with my man.

I still wanted to make our Metrolink party fun, so I decided to bake my chocolate chip cookies that everyone likes and put up some small decorations.

We spend hours commuting every week and LITERALLY sit with the same people on the train.  Every.Single.Day.  The people I have come to know on the train are my commuting family.  Ray brings me coupons, Donna gave me a ride to my car when I forgot to get off the train, and everyone looks out for each other when one of us is sleeping (errr, that would be me).

I hung a Happy Birthday banner in the train and picked up a "birthday boy" ribbon for Houston - he is the best and actually wore it on the train.

I made a batch of cookies and put some in individual baggies for all of the train peeps.  To jazz it up a bit, and to celebrate Houston, I made a bag topper that said "Happy Birthday, Houston".

Here is how it's done:

Create a text box in Microsoft Word. Select format text box from the top tool bar and customize!

I chose to make mine blue (Houston's favorite color) with white letters. I generally center my text and then also center the box in the middle of the page (no funny sized borders).  I wanted to have the banner be the border itself, so I removed the border by selecting "shape outline" and then "no outline".

Type your greeting/whatever you would like the baggie to say.

Since you will need a "flap" to fold over the top of the baggie, Hint: hit enter a couple times to make sure there is enough paper to make the flap. [I am not savvy enough to figure out dimensions on my computer, I just eyeball it and then print a test copy.]  If you print at the top of the page, the text will be upside down and the flap won't work.

Once you have printed and re sized to your liking, print a bunch of copies and get to cutting!  I am sure there is a way to measure and graph each of these, but I am just wayyyy too lazy and cutting with my paper trimmer takes less time than figuring it all out.  Then fold the paper in half (use your test prints to figure out the size).

Fill the baggies with the yummy dessert of your choice and seal the bag.

Place your folded "Baggie banner" over the bag and attach.  I usually go for staples, but I have used a hole punch and ribbon before too.  - stapling is easy and it gets the job done fast!

Ta-da!!! Birthday Baggie Banners!  A sweet way to dress up goodie bags for parties,  or even simple lunch bag sandwiches.  Cute, right?

For an easy Christmas baggie, feel free to download {this} PDF, designed my my talented co-worker/friend Ashley - she has seriously awesome skills.   (For personal use only). I only ask that you follow my blog or share it with someone whom you think would enjoy it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It is a sad, sad closet

It is a sad, sad, sad, SAD closet.  Indeed, it is a sad closet I have.

I am not one to get hung up on the latest fashion or feel like I have to be “trendy”, but a girl always likes to look pretty and lately I have just felt like a frump.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that I gave away 2/3 of my closet last month and have only purchased one coat since my purge of the un-worn.  YIKES.  I may have tees and camis for days; my scarves have taken over my dresser and the backside of two doors, but I have practically 8 outfits for work!

I think know that part of the problem is that I still hate clothes shopping!!! I believe this hatred stems from a couple sources: 
  • My past experience working in retail has made me never want to shop/fold/look at a tee table EVER again.  There has been many a time when I begin picking up clothes on the floor or folding something, simply out of an old habit. 
  • I have a “funny” shape – tiny waist and J. Lo booty with saddlebags.  I am one of the girls who knows she just should NOT wear skinny jeans, no matter how trendy they are – I own a mirror and see my reflection before walking out of the house (which is more than I can say for most of the girls I see on the way to work every day). I am thankful for my body that isn't disabled and try will try harder to love myself just the way I am.
  • I don’t think dressing like a tramp is “fashionable”.  Plain and simple.  I am about classy and timeless outfits and would rather look like a grandma than a lady of the night [rant over]. 
  • For a long time, I was working REALLY hard to pay off the small amount of credit debt I incurred over a couple years.  What was a seemingly “little” debt felt like a crushing weight to me, and I couldn’t wait to be out from underneath it! Now it has been kinda hard to let go of the penny pinching/constantly saying “no” habit I developed and actually allow myself to buy things.

When Mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I responded with an enthusiastic “BLACK PANTS!”  I had one pair of nice dress pants and was in desperate need of new ones!  Well, after four hours at the mall and countless pairs of black pants, I said screw it and declared I would much rather eat Paradise Pie from Chili’s instead of trying on another pair of pants. 

Similar situation for my birthday… Natalee asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to go shopping with her.  Hallelujah, I found a pair of black pants (three months after Christmas) but that was it.  That night I opted for beer instead of dessert to console my wounded esteem.  Nothing is worse than trying on cute clothes and having absolutely no success – seriously, some of the pant legs were sewn so tight I couldn’t even try them ON!!!  They didn’t fit past my knees! 

I long to be “one of those” gals who is fashionably frugal.  Who knows how to pair color and accessorize to really make an outfit look great!  [yes, I worked in retail, but I sold men’s shirts and ties for crying out loud!] I have to caution myself against idolizing some of the ladies who write my favorite blogs – they always look adorable and put together, even on lazy sweatpants days.

Here are some of my favorites:

Seriously??? How do they do it???

So first things first… 
I took a cue from Jessica and purchased a sparkily gold belt.  LOVE it.  Now, if I can only overcome my aversion to the mall and more importantly… the fitting room.  The person who thought it would be great to have horrible lighting and a wall of mirrors should be tarred and feathered… or better yet:  forced to try to fit into skinny jeans!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder

My darling Brittany got married almost two months ago.  *sigh* I can hardly believe that the six months of her accelerated planning are over.  I tried to help as much as possible – but I usually just stressed her out when I mentioned things she hadn’t yet tackled on her “to-do list”.  The wedding was lovely and all of her hard work definitely paid off.

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

Brittany’s Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder was the last one I will be making for a while. [Breaking my blue jay heart].  I have been overwhelmed lately with school, work (thankful for my new, albeit more stressful position with the firm) and just life.  I doesn’t matter how early I wake up, or stay awake at night… I just can’t get everything accomplished that I would like to! –Maybe less Facebook and blog reading should also be in my near future [probably not].  It is kinda depressing, since I enjoy searching antiques stores for, and selling the cages, but something has got to give, and I am ok with birdcages “giving”. – Hence the reason I am also so behind in blogging, scrapbooking and a dozen other crafts… c’est la vie, a girl has to be a grownup and prioritize sometimes… being a “grownup” is lame.    

I saw {this} pin on Pinterest and thought that these flowers would be the BEST for Brittany’s cage rather than the normal Kusudama flowers I usually make.   Brittany was using succulents as a base for flowers at her wedding and I thought these were lovely!  The website for the pin had a FREE for personal use PDF download for the flowers [score!] so I got to cutting them out… OMGoodness.  They were NOT easy to make.  Lots and LOTS of cutting, did I say LOTS? and then trying to glue them – hot glue burns SUCK. 

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

I tried to finish the Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder for Brittany’s bridal shower and lucky for me I had the PERFECT pink ribbon tape in my supplies to go around the cage!  Heck yes!  

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

She liked the flowers, but wished they were a more “bright” pink – not to be confused with “hot” pink.  My co-worker Ashley tweaked the color of the PDF and voila! I had better colored flowers… the only problem was that I had to cut everything out. AGAIN.  Thank heaven for my awesome [AWESOME] boyfriend, he sat and cut the smallest ones out on the train with me using his pocket knife – winning!!!

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

I got everything made and then decided I didn’t want to take the original ones off the cage; I thought it would look fuller if I just supplemented with the new ones.  I wish I had ripped them off, dang it. 

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

Skylar, the lovely sister-of-the-bride, came to my rescue when I could not fit the Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder, box of pom poms and four days worth of clothes AND wedding supplies in my suitcase.  She ever so graciously carried the birdcage on the plane in order for it to arrive safely.  She is a gem.

Brittany liked the cage, and that is all that matters to me.  I was so preoccupied on the day of the wedding I totally forgot to get a picture of the cage (doh!)  Lucky for me, Brittany’s photographer took this lovely shot:

Mint and Pink Wedding Birdcage Cardholder #mintandpink #birdcage #cardholder #wedding

And so my friends, an era of birdcages overtaking my apartment has come to an end.  I will miss the frequent antiquing trips and the sport of finding great bargains, but at least I can still go look for cakestands!!!