October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 10/31/13

Happy Halloween my darlings! It's early in the morning where I am and the day of frivolities is just beginning! I've got a lot planned for today, so let's get started!
The reason everyone likes Halloween is for its traditions. We get to dress up in a costume, get free, candy, make more sugary goodness at home, carve pumpkins, paint pumpkins, have parties, etc. etc. etc. This year, Andrew and I are probably going to skip out on the dressing up part since we're only going around to a couple of houses of people we know in addition to some trunk-or-treating on the street. I am SO excited to get Chelsea all dressed up in her fox costume! I'm hopeful to get some foxy makeup on her, too, but we'll see what she has to say about that.

So here are my Halloween plans for today:
1) Write blog post about Halloween
2) Prepare a spoooooky breakfast for me and Chelsea
3)Watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" or "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
4) Get ready and go grocery shopping for some last-minute Halloween treat items
5) Visit the local "pumpkin patch" (it's not exactly a pumpkin patch, but it will do)
6) Get some sewing done and catch up on some blogs during naptime
7) Rake some leaves outside and jump in them (if they're not wet or too cold)
8) Prepare and eat our ghoulish dinner
9) Go trunk-or-treating and trick-or-treating
10) Come home to make some terrifyingly delicious Halloween treats with Aunt Kara
11) Put Chelsea to bed and watch a REALLY scary movie (which probably means we'll watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" again, or "Ernest Scared Stupid")

I can't WAIT to get the day started! SO... Here we go...

We only got one pumpkin this year for our family to carve together. Andrew did most of the heavy-lifting/big knife work, Chelsea did the messy part (and LOVED it!), and I took care of the "artistic" carving with a little "help" from the little gal. She wasn't so sure about the muckity muck at first, but got into it once we showed her how.

 POW!


What are your plans to make this day even spookier? Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

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October 29, 2013

TUTORIAL: FELT BATS AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN BANNER

I know I've mentioned it before, but just in case you've forgotten, I suck at crafting. I tried getting into scrap booking at one point in my life, but it didn't take. Cutting paper isn't really my forte and painting wooden letters doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to me. But sometimes we want things in life bad enough that we're willing to go through the ugly to get it. For example: I want Halloween decorations.

Turns out, I'm not the only one with limited crafting ability or interest.

Madeline from P.S. My Name is Madeline has the same predicament. She shared this information with me when I first mentioned my crafting disability in this post. We began discussing crafts in addition to happenings in our lives and learned that we have a lot more in common than just craftlessness. We are both teachers (well, I have my license, anyway), we love children, we like fashion, and we are Utah bloggers, just to name a few.

What I love about Madeline and her blog is her honesty in writing and her humor. My favorite posts are the ones she writes about her fourth graders (she wrote a really funny post about an encounter with a spider she and her class had a few days back that you have GOT to read). It's almost like I'm in the classroom again enjoying the students and the hilarious things they do and say without actually having to teach. If I went back to teaching school, fourth grade would be my grade of choice!

So as we got to know each other, this fantastic plan started to form in our minds. Since we both are less-crafty, but want to gain that talent, why not think of or find a craft that looks easy and try it out? That way, if another poor soul like us is looking for a craft that won't scare them off for life, they can turn to us. Basically, my darlings, if we can do it, so can you. So here are a few pictures of Madeline's crafts.

FELT BAT
As simple as 1, 2, 3. Literally. There are three steps.

HALLOWEEN BANNER
It's really not as hard as it looks. Took me a while to build up courage to do it, and once I did, I wasn't afraid anymore!
Cut out some fancy paper into triangles and paint, or glue printed out letters onto the triangles, then fold the top side of the banner down to hang over the line then tape in place.

Don't be afraid to give these a try. Like I said, if we can do it, you can too. You've still got a couple of days left, so let's get crafting!

*To view more photos of my felt bats and banner, stop by P.S. My Name is Madeline.

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October 27, 2013

A LIL BIT OF FANCY: PRODUCT REVIEW

Hello darlings! Halloween is just a couple of days away! Woot woot! I hope you're as excited as I am! Even if you're not a dress up and get free candy type of person (psh!), it's still a great excuse to meet up with friends and take a look at some pretty creative "stumes" (Brooklyn 99. Love it.)

But I'm not writing about stumes and candy today. No, I'll save that for another post in the next couple of days. Today, I want to spotlight a new friend I've made in the blogging and Etsy shop world named Katie. I found her via the handmade fair I was a part of a few weeks ago (another one coming up, with sweet deals and perfectly perfect items for sale! stay tuned for details). We started e-mailing back and forth and following each other's blogs and I truly, TRULY hope I get to meet her and her adorable family someday.

So I asked Katie a few questions so that we could get to know her a bit better and she has one of the best "husband-first-meetings" I've ever heard! You're going to love it!

My name is Katie and I am the creator of A Lil Bit Fancy. A one of a kind hand made accessories line. I also have a fashion/ lifestyle blog with lots of fun posts about me and my line. Basically the "ALBF" blog is a way for me to document my journey as my business grows and for me and my customers to connect on a more personal level. 

Me and my hubs have been married for 3 years BUT together for 12 years!! We are high school sweethearts and have been together since we were 14!! How we met is kind of silly! :) I believe we were 10. I was a cheerleader and he was a football player for our pop-warner team...AND I caught him looking up my skirt from the bench where I was cheering in the stands above! LOL I told you it was silly. I yelled at him and he laughed and I swear to you from then on I would always tell my friends I was going to marry that boy...And I did :) True story! ;) 

We have 2 little ladies, Olivia(2) and Willow(1) They are such sweet and special little loves. We just adore them.

I'm not quite sure how the name of my shop came about. I thought that A Lil Bit Fancy was a way of stating that you can be fancy with out the "Fancy" price tags, I guess. And it stuck :) 

I started my Etsy shop while on maternity leave with Willow. I was bored and wanted to get back into designing. (I am an ex-bikini designer) It just so happened that I had a random yard of leather and 3" of rhinestones and an idea. The funny thing is that when I opened my shop I said to myself and husband that this is just a hobby. There was no way I was going to let another design attempt take over our life like my bikini line did. I tried...But I believe fate had other plans. The day Willow came home my little hobby had exploded! I was getting orders on top of orders all while trying to nurse a new born and entertain a 3 y/o. That was a tough and exciting time to say the least. Ever since then business is steady and growing by the day. I've sold to countries all over the world, blog features, stores, celebrities and magazines. I don't really know how it happened, it just did! Oddly, I've always seemed to be able to map out my life and I've always believed I would be a designer I just never thought it would be accessories or that in only 2 short years I would have such a wonderful following of customers and supporters. It is such a blessing for me to be able to do what I love and also be home with our two girls. I couldn't ask for anything more!

Well said. So glad to have a creative outlet that earns some money and allows me to stay at home with my family at the same time.
In addition to Katie agreeing to visit on the blog today, we also made an Etsy shop swap and I got to have a couple of her fabulous bracelets. I've had them for about a week now, and I am SO in love. My wardrobe was in DESPERATE need of some fancy! I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
See? So here's what I love about these bracelets:
1) They match almost any outfit
2) They're unique
3) They're exquisitely designed
4) They're handmade
5) They're quality
6) There are about a million styles and colors to choose from
7) Relatively easy to clip on and take off
8) Katie is an absolute gem to work with (no pun intended)
9) Reasonably priced

Cons:
1) That they don't somehow reproduce. Seriously. I want more.

I really am entirely and completely in love with these bracelets. I've never really been an accessories kind of gal because I could never find anything I absolutely loved, until now.

If you haven't skipped all the words and hopped over to Katie's blog and shop yet, here are her links. Make sure you stop by and say hi to Katie and her family. I'm sure she can't wait to meet you!

facebook: A lil bit fancy accessories 
IG: alilbitfancy

A lil bit Fancy

And just a few more photos for your viewing pleasure.  I found this sweater at Target on sale and fell in love with it, and the price, immediately. The beanie and scarf are homemade, the pants and white shirt are from H&M, and the boots I got from Top Moda on Amazon.

 

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*All opinions and views expressed in this post are entirely my own and based off of my personal experience with the products viewed in the above photos.
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October 26, 2013

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ASIAN TOURISTS

It's 10:48 at the moment, and even though it is a Friday night, I'm ready for bed! But I can't go to sleep until I write about the thoughts I'm having about some things I've learned today and experienced today.
Andrew's work had a fun Halloween party tonight, geared towards families and children. There were games, a spook alley, and of course, candy. Lots and lots of candy. The party was held at The Gateway mall in Salt Lake, and little children wearing all sorts of witch, superhero, werewolf, and even astronaut costumes was not uncommon. Apparently, neither were Asian tourists!
Andrew had to go back to work for another hour, so Chelsea and I decided to just hang out until he was done. Our first stop was at a little water fountain with three Asian men standing to the side talking. They smiled at Chelsea in her little fox costume and laughed at her very serious expression as she neared the fountain (my daughter has her father's steel-y facial expression). I noticed some pennies in the pool around the fountain and decided that it might be fun for Chelsea to have her first experience tossing wishes into a pool.

Small object + throw = awesome. I ran out of pennies pretty fast.

When I only had one penny left, I noticed one of the men had rounded the fountain to come by us. He bent down at Chelsea's eye-level and handed her a penny, which she immediately took out of his hand and threw unceremoniously into the pool (she is only one-and-a-half). The kind man and I both laughed and he said "nice."
Since I had run out of pennies, we decided to head down the stairs to the water pad. There was a father with his three children sitting on the bench and playing by the water. Chelsea and I came right up to the edge of the pad and watched the water and the children play. Each child had a huge grin on her face as she neared the water spout closest to us, then quickly ran away as it squirted out of the ground, giggling uncontrollably back to their father. This pattern continued until the youngest daughter was the only one left playing the game. I don't think she was any older than Chelsea. I was watching Chelsea watch the water, but looked up just in time to see this tiny girl turn around with water dripping from her hair and face and a look of utter bewilderment from her eyebrows down to her chin. I could NOT contain my laughter. It came out as a pursed-lipped "pffffvvv" sound before I tried to contain myself, covering my mouth and face to hopefully suppress the laughter. You should have seen the look on this little girl's face! Don't think I'm mean! I'm just one of those moms that doesn't take these kind of things too seriously. If it had happened to Chelsea, I would have laughed unashamed. I looked at the girl's father and apologized for laughing, but he just gave me a reassuring smile.
It wasn't long after the family left that a new wave of Asian tourists came walking by. Were they going to miss the opportunity to get photos of a cute American toddler wearing a fox costume? Not a chance. Seriously, one man even had his huge DSLR camera with giant lens and all and was taking photos of her (if they weren't tourists, I might be a little concerned). One woman even took a five-minute video on her smartphone of Chelsea just looking at the water and walking around, I kid you not.  And to top that, a group of three women came over to Chelsea and each took a turn taking a photo with her! Of course I stayed close by, but was glad to share my daughter with them for a few moments.
Finally, after riding the escalator up and down at least five times each, we headed to Barnes and Noble to look at some books and wait for Daddy.

*As a side-note, we totally caught an Asian couple having a mini make out shesh until I looked up and saw them. I'm pretty sure in most Asian cultures, PDA is looked down upon, a lot, which is probably why the guy was watching me as he made out with his girl and stopped just a second later.

I had so many stories to tell Andrew once we got in the car to head to yet another party, but it wasn't until we got home tonight and I was reading through a couple of my favorite blogs that I realized what a gift this day was.

"Don't be too busy to live your life--really live it.  Don't be too caught up in the stress of every day to notice when a moment is begging to become a memory.  Don't walk away from that because you think your current circumstance is too important. 
Memories are a beautiful gift, and one that you can give yourself.  Live your life open to moments like that, and suddenly, the business you thought was so important?  It won't be.  It never was."


"...with every mile after that, I fought the urge to tell Andrew we should just stop right here at this suburban chain restaurant because I really don't think I can make it all the way to the city and be so far away from my baby. But, I panicked quietly, secretly, and smiled and nodded and enjoyed my husband's music because really, he deserved this! He deserves to have his wife to himself occasionally, especially on his birthday.
It was wonderful."
-Morgan from A City for Three

I am a doer. That's why I've always got some sort of project going on and another working in my head. I multitask and would much rather be busy than be bored (which is why I've had issues with my hands in the past, a long story that I'll tell you about later). But sometimes, I allow myself to succumb to stress and business by focusing on the project more than I should. It makes me sad to admit that I've probably missed out on some of the moments that Chelsea is talking about in her post. I love my projects, and I love to create, but in the end, am I sacrificing memories for stuff? And is it worth it? 
But I don't want to dwell on that. What is in the past is done, and there's nothing I can do to change it. What I can do, is decide to do things a little differently. Each day, try a little harder to be present for those memories, like today. Take some time to appreciate the little things and see everything with a "Tourist's eyes." If I'm being completely honest, a little kid in a fox costume really isn't a big whoop (unless it's your own kid and she is COMPLETELY adorable!), but those tourists reminded me to open my eyes. To be kind. To appreciate children and to not be afraid to leave my comfort zone in order to share a moment with a complete stranger.

I want to be a tourist.
I want to take advantage of moments that come, to appreciate them for what they are.
I want to make memories with my family, and to give my husband special treatment that he deserves, to build our relationship and our love. Don't you?




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October 25, 2013

OCTOBER FAMILY PHOTOS

I was talking on the phone with my mom yesterday and was telling her about the various things happening in my family's life recently and with my blog. During the conversation, I mentioned that I loved blogging, but it does not take precedence over my family, to which she responded, "Of course. I'd never doubt it."
Last week, my mother-in-law came to visit us from California. She stayed with her mom in North Salt Lake, but one of the days she came up to Layton to see our house and to run some errands with me. She was really helpful with Chelsea in the stores and when we got home and put Chelsea down for a nap, we had a chance to sit and talk together. The conversation inevitably turned to family and relationships. We talked about men and how to manipulate compromise until both parties are happy.
Today, I'm just feeling grateful that I grew up in a family that loves me and that I married into one that feels the same way. As my husband and I build our little family, I feel the responsibility on my shoulders to make sure that our children are raised in a home with love, just like the we came from. Sometimes the house isn't as clean as it should be, dinner is quite boring, and emotions are less than mild, but one thing I can always count on is that love is always present.


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