Friday, November 30, 2012

Here is the list you asked for...

Dear Husband.  Please start reading my blog so that you can stop asking what I want for Christmas... Then immediately stop again, so that I can continue posting embarrassing stories and photos of you without your knowledge.

Yes, some of these are duplicate entries from this post, but that's OK.  In translation for husbands... If she talks/posts/nags about it over and over again, she wicked wants it...

Also, this would probably be a whole lot easier for both of us if we'd just go back to what we had been doing for gifts in years past...Nothing.

1.  Earbuds.  I don't care if they're the Diane Von Fursenberg ones.  They just need to be able to blast the Beastie Boys into my ears at unsafe decibel levels while I pretend I'm running much faster than I really am.

2.  MCMC Fragrance samples.  I'd like to try Maine, Maui, and/or Love.     

3.  This clutch (if it comes back in stock in time).  Otherwise it'll be my next sewing project.

4.  Yoga pants.  Size Medium.  Bonus:  These could double as comfy-pants for couch time.  So those ones you don't like so much would come out less often...

5.  In-home spa time with mud maskface cream (not pictured), and pumpkin-oatmeal scrub (also not pictured). Pumpkin!

6.  Out-of-the-house spa time.

PS:  These are not in order of wicked-want to kind-of-want.  If you need them in order, they are as follows, starting with most-wicked-wanted: 4, 5, 2, 1, 3, 6.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why you're a good Mom...

My fellow blogger friend, Tessa, just posted a link to another fantastic post that I feel I have to keep going.  It warrants sharing over and over until every mother on the planet has it sunk into her brain... So check out this post entitled, "Why You're Never Failing as a Mother."

My favorite quote from the whole thing... "Feeling like you also need to keep on top of scrapbooking, weight loss, up-cycled onesies, handprints, crock pot meals, car seat recalls, sleeping patterns, poo consistency, pro-biotic supplements, swimming lessons, electromagnetic fields in your home and television exposure, is like trying to knit on a rollercoaster – it’s fucking hard."

Are your kids getting fed?  Do they have clothes?  Do they smile occasionally?  Yes?  Then you're doing fine.

There are definitely ups and downs to motherhood.  Trying to keep up with the Jones' is definitely one of the downs.  There's enormous pressure out there from (unfortunately) other Mothers.  It's hard not to see those around us with what looks like the ideal situation, and not try to measure up.  Please, PLEASE resist the urge to do so.  We (I) sometimes feel inadequate because I don't always meet the "standards" as far as breastfeeding, finances, the coolest toys, the nicest car, brand-name clothes, bilingual toddlers, and so on and so forth...  Well, for all that I say this:  My first son got teeth at 4 months of age (and used them), so I quit breastfeeding shortly thereafter.  We adopted our second son, and therefore I (obviously) didn't have any milk come in at all for that one, and he's been formula fed from day one.  I have no guilt about either one (Gasp!).  I quit my big-girl job a year ago to be home with my kids.  No I didn't get fired or laid off, so yes, it was a voluntary decision to have a way smaller balance in our bank account.  Also something I'm not sorry about, or harbor any guilt over.  My kids have fun with the toys they have, they get around fine in the car I drive, they do have brand-name clothes, but they're almost 100% 2nd hand, I'm thrilled if they learn English properly, and if they want to learn a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language they're welcome to do so, and teach me too.  By someone's standards my kids are far from perfect.  But I like them just fine, and since they're mine, mine is the opinion that matters.

Besides, my Dad always says, "When you're perfect, there's nowhere to go but down."  I like the fact that my kids have the opportunity to feel what it's like to climb up instead of down...

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting something (anything) done...

Free to do list printable
As someone who is a stay-at-home Mom, and also a small business owner (I guess that makes me a work-at-home Mom), I usually feel like there aren't enough hours in the day.  I know I'm not alone with this feeling.  It's something every mother on the face of the planet struggles with.  I believe the level of busy is usually described as "busier than a one-legged-man in an ass-kicking contest."  But truth be told, sometimes it's not that I'm SO busy.  It's that I'm SO busy thinking about all the stuff that needs to get done that I get overwhelmed at the size of the list, freeze, and set about doing all kind of other things instead of what has to be done.  So, yes, I'm constantly busy, and then, inevitably, in a downward spiral of feeling even more unsuccessful when the list keeps piling up, and I still haven't checked anything off.  Ugh...

Solution?  This List.  You could make your own, but let's face it, you don't have time...

Seriously, Folks, this is the key to success.  Breaking your giant list into smaller, more manageable parts makes is far less daunting, and far more likely to end up with items checked off.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Santa Baby: Gift Guide for her (me)...

I'm always blown away by the gift guides in magazines this time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's a wildly fantastic gaggle of gifts ideas they come up with, but I always find them just a tad unrealistic for me.  Maybe you'd buy your Mom a $275 candle, but, not me.  Sorry Mom.  Yes, you're worth it.  But the penny-pincher in me would silently scream every time you lit it, like you were slowly melting away a bar of gold or something.  So I came up with my own gift guide this year.  This is the type of stuff I feel you can't go wrong with (at least for me, anyway)...

1.  A timeless, yet unique clutch (and this one in particular is surprisingly inexpensive, and completely handmade).
2.  A cozy flannel.  This one has some cool detail that makes it a bit more nifty than your standard button-down option.
3.  Any pair of low-heeled, rugged-tread boots is a friend of mine.
4.  I can't have enough scarves, and this one supports a great cause also.
5.  Yes, I make my own perfume, but that doesn't mean I'm not still intrigued by the ones others make also.  This one and this one, both by MCMC Fragrances, are on my short list of ones to try.
6.  A little pampering, like from this handmade mud mask, is always a welcome gift.
7.  A new Yoga mat.
8.  A super sweet skull to sit on my mantel. 
9.  A new set of dishes, because we can't seem to stop chipping pieces off the ones we have.
10.  Seriously, Folks, you have no idea how difficult it is to find a not-creepy Gnome.  This little guy passes the test and would look awesome in my garden next to Alice, my lavender plant.  Yes, the lavender plant is named Alice.  She came to me already named from the farmer I purchased her from last Summer.  One part very odd, and 2 parts completely awesome.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The renegades of Renegade...

New York Home T
The Home T
To be completely honest, my journey to the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair in Brooklyn last weekend was kind of a bust financially.  Hurricane Sandy really did a number on the wallets of the crafting community when she swept through and tied up people's funds right before a major show came to town.  But what an amazing group of folks to show up anyway, put on a happy face, and try like hell to sell all the stuff they'd just spend months making for this event.   AND, even though it pretty much sucked financially, it was totally awesome in every other way.  The people I met there were so fun and creative, and great company to spend the weekend with.  We were all comrades in our freezing cold tents.  We all got each other coffee, shared stories, and  traded products so we could still get cool stuff even though we hadn't made the funds for extravagant purchases.   And in the wake of dismal sales, to still be able to come home and say, "that was fun," says something seriously awesome about the company I kept while I was there.

So I'd like to share with you some of the most truly amazing people I've ever met, and the truly amazing stuff they make...
Loren Caledonia
~Loren Caledonia.  This woman was my booth mate, and made seriously cool pieces of jewelry that were all totally my style.  If I'd made enough money to have some spending cash while I was there, I'd have had one of her necklaces in a heartbeat.  Not to mention the fact that she was a seriously cool chick to hang out with.  Admittedly, I was very nervous about who the show staff would pair me up with and if I'd be able to tolerate being 4 feet away from them all weekend.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun she was.   
10ml Eau de Parfums
Sweet Anthem
~Meredith Smith of Sweet Anthem.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and admit that I've been cyber-stalking Meredith for a while now, and was so excited when I found out that she was going to be at Renegade.  One, it gave me a major confidence boost to be chosen as a vendor along with someone of her talents, but two, it was going to give me a chance for this groupie to meet the star.  She did not disappoint.  She was super sweet, and every one of her perfumes was fantastic.  I went to bed Saturday night still smelling my wrist where I'd tested one of her fragrances.  Ew, that all sounded a little too "Cable guy" creepy...  In short, she rocks, so does her stuff, you should buy it.
~Ryan, and his lovely fiance of The Home T.  This guy had our great sense of humor for the weekend.  I'm on the waiting list for when they start making a Vermont T.
Bohem A Pure Botanical Parfum Oil 5ml Roll-On Mini Bottle
Rebel & Mercury
~Nikki Sherritt of Rebel & Mercury.  This girl was stuck right next to one of the openings in the tent, and was freezing her tush off the entire time, and had a huge smile on her face anyway.  That's true grit, folks.  Oh, and she makes amazing perfume, and also a line of candles that are giant and smell so amazing.
HAVEN Kitchen and Bath Soap Set / Sweet Orange & Spice Castile
Haven Clean
~Kayce White of Haven Clean & Simple.  She made a point of making the rounds in the morning and chatting with other vendors, and her positive attitude was infectious.
~Jessica of Side Show Soaps.  I traded lotions with her, and am currently wearing the one called "Sword Swallower," which has a really great Coconut and ginger tea fragrance.  I so needed the warmth of this scent over the weekend to remind me of more tropical places, and take my mind off the bitter cold in our tents.  A jar of her scrub in the same scent is on my Christmas list for myself.
Sword Swallower Ginger Coconut Milk Sensational Jojoba Body Scrub
Side Show Soaps
So if you're going to be crowd bowling on Black Friday, Supporting a Small Business on Small Business Saturday, or giving your credit card a workout on Cyber Monday, keep these folks in mind.  They're great people with great products, and they all managed to smile and make everyone's life a little more fun through a weekend of dismal sales.  They rock.  Support them.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to pack a suitcase...

So I'm off to NYC tomorrow for the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair.  This means another wildly fun OCD challenge for me.  Packing a suitcase in the Wintertime, even if it is just for a few days can be a real bitch.  Packing for a weekend getaway in the Summer is a piece of cake...mostly because all the pieces are small.  Flip-flops, bikinis, tank-tops, and shorts take up WAY less room in a suitcase than sweaters, jeans, boots and jackets.  And I pretty much refuse to use anything other than a small carry-on suitcase to pack in, no matter where I'm going, for how long, and whether I'm driving or flying.  So, just in case you're planning a Winter Wonderland journey in the near future, I'll share with you how I got 4 days worth of bulky items to fit in an itty-bitty bag...

First, prep.  Lay out all the pieces.  For this trip I need enough pieces to make 4 days worth of layered outfits for cold weather.  This needed to include the outfits I'll be wearing while hanging out all day long at my booth at the craft show, as well as an option for going out in the evening with friends, and also something fun to wear for our girls-day in Manhattan before coming home on Monday.  Tip:  Choose pieces in the same color family, and use your accessories as pops of color.  that way everything goes with everything else, and can be switched around to make more outfits out of fewer pieces. 
 I actually have more here than I probably need, and could do this in way fewer pieces, but It turned out that I had extra room, and therefore, why not pack a few extra options?  Just in case you're wondering, the final tally is 3 pairs of casual pants/jeans, 2 casual button-down shirts, 4 long-sleeved t-shirts (2 black, 2 white, in varying styles/necklines), one t-shirt, 2 cardigans, 2 heavy-weight pull-over sweaters, 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 bras, 2 pairs of tights, 2 camis, 1 hoodie, and my yoga pants to sleep in, 2 pairs of boots, 1 pair of dressy shoes, 1 dress, 3 scarves, 1 belt, 1 pair of gloves, 1 handbag, 1 clutch, 1 pair of earrings, 1 bracelet, 2 necklaces, 1 leather jacket, and one big puffy coat.  Whew!     
 Set aside what you'll wear on the way there.  Tip:  This should be the stuff that's comfy for the trip, and also a pain to pack.  I chose jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel button-down, tall brown boots, pink scarf, and my big puffy coat.  Basically it means that I don't have to pack the big boots or the big coat.  If I get hot in the car, I can throw the coat in the back seat.  If I were travelling by plane, it would make a super comfy pillow or blanket, and the boots zip on and off easily to pass through security.
Stop, drop, and roll.  My sweaters, long-sleeved t-shirts, jeans, sleepwear, and scarves all got rolled.  The button-down shirt, dress, hoodie, and leather jacket got neatly folded.  
 And the puzzle begins...
 Step 1)  Shoes and boots.  The bulky (and in the case of the shoes, spiky) parts are placed near the edges of the suitcase.
 Step 2)  Protect your stuff from your other stuff.  If you're lucky enough to not be packing spikes, you can skip this step.  But I kept the foam pads that these shoes came packed with, and reused them here in my bag.
 Step 3)  Stuff undies and socks in shoes.  This not only helps your shoes keep their shape while being squished under your stuff, but also saves space, and keeps tiny items together and easy to locate.
 Step 4)  Put the bulkiest rolled items around, and on top of the shoes/boots.
  Step 5)  Place lighter weight rolled items on top and around the bulkier stuff.  The plastic freezer baggie has my tights in it to help keep them from getting snagged on anything.  
 Step 6)  Put in folded items, layered on top.
  Step 7)  I put my jewelry in the compartments of my clutch to help protect it, and to keep it from snagging any of my clothes.
 Step 8)  My hoodie, leather jacket, and gloves are added to the top.  The hoodie's there because I want to have something cozy to put on when I get there, and the gloves are on the top in case I want them for the drive down (or to slap someone with).  My clutch is in my handbag which is squished flat in the compartment on the lid of the bag.  
 Step 9)  My toiletries will get added to the outside compartment.  I didn't pack them yet because I need to use them today and tomorrow before I go.  I pack them on the outside because, if I were flying instead of driving, it would be easy to pull them out for airport security without having to disturb the rest of my bag.  So I tend to do the same thing on road trips, because I don't want to open my whole bag up just to get eye drops or a lip balm.
 One last tip:  Make sure that your bag closes easily without having to unzip the extension that makes your bag bigger.  This way if you do any shopping on your trip, you have room to bring home your souvenirs.  Done.      

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mastering real-life Tetris and finding a battle buddy...

I officially rock at real-life Tetris.  Behold...
Nestled neatly within these boxes is an alarming amount of product...
It took me all darned day on Sunday to inventory and pack all my stuff for Brooklyn.  BUT I managed to do it ALL in these 4 boxes.  Yes, folks.  That's right.  That's 62 jars and 72 bottles (the equivalent of about 4.5 gallons) of lotion, about 100 bars of soap, more bottles of perfume than grace the shelves of Sephora, and a wicked lot of other products also.  And because I like to really to challenge myself to some upper-level OCD games, I also fit in there every shred of booth display items, shopping bags, gift boxes, business cards, and all that jazz.

Now I have all morning tomorrow free to plan outfits for NYC.  The organizational compartments of my brain are squealing with joy right now.  Oh, and while I was in my basement fishing out boxes to pack in (by the way, thank you Seventh Generation for packing your diapers in some seriously rugged boxes), I found this guy hiding out in some of my old stuff.

I figured since I won the war on packing, this little military man could hang out in my studio, and possibly even come along for the ride to Brooklyn as my battle buddy...

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Allowing myself some indulgences...

Newness.  I like it.  I like my routine, and I like what I like to stay the way I like it... But I like it when some new, fresh, happy stuff gets woven in there from time to time.  So I treated myself to a couple things recently.  I've been working like a dog to get ready for Renegade (which I leave for one week from today.  Yikes!), and I decided that instead of waiting until I got back home with a few extra bucks in my pocket, I'd treat myself a little early.  I'm optimistic that I'll earn enough back to cover my splurges, and now I have treats to bring with me to NYC.  Plus, I just landed my first wholesale account(!!!), so indulgence #2 is already paid for from that.  So here's what I got for myself:
1) This jacket...

It arrived on my doorstop yesterday.  It's hanging in my closet right this second with my homemade dresses completely humbled by it's awesomeness, and I'm still drooling over the digital image of it here in front of me.  It's in the top 4 of my most big-girl purchases ever.  My only other ones I can think of that can top this are my house, my car, and our couch (which was the first piece of furniture that my husband and I didn't have handed down to us, or buy at a 2nd hand shop.  So at the time  it seemed even more monumental than when we bought our house).  It was a huge deal for me to buy this jacket.  Partly, because I am obnoxiously tight with my wallet, and don't usually indulge, period.  But mostly, because it was a mildly (maybe wildly) impractical purchase for someone who has a baby with a spit-up problem.  Don't worry, I bought the spray that, supposedly helps protect it from such things if I should feel stupid daring enough to wear it around my children.  And now do you see why I bought it BEFORE New York?  That might be the only place I have a chance to wear it for a while.  So that, Folks, is the definition of indulgence...something acquired for yourself, simply because you wicked wanted it, and felt you wicked earned it, even if it doesn't make a wicked lot of sense.  Done.

2)  A visit to my favorite hairstylist, which if any of you read my post about shaving my head a while back, you know I've vowed to go see more often.  So, anyway, my hair has finally grown out to a length where I don't have to put product in it to keep the rooster tail from sticking up at the back anymore, and therefore had the potential to be styled into a pixie that looked like it happened on purpose.  It looks pretty much like the photo below (except the chick below didn't go to bed with salon product still in her hair, and her makeup still on, and wake up looking a tad more trampy than a stay-at-home Mom should look in the morning).  So her photo is posted this morning to spare you from mine...
Cropped blond hair
And I had it lightened to about the shade that Olivia's is here on the top part of hers.  Something fresh, and a bang-up job on covering the greys...
long bob with bangs

3)  A basket-filling trip through the makeup aisle at Bed Bath & Beyond...
OK, so this didn't fill my basket, but this handful of items will, literally replace everything in my makeup bin, and at a later date, I'll show you why/how.

Do you allow yourself to do this every now and then?  If not, you should.  I'm not saying go completely nuts and blow through your life savings.  I'm just saying that with proper budgeting  it's possible to allow yourself some nice stuff every now and then (even if it will just hang in the closet until your kids go off to college).  Don't think for a second that I haven't already paraded around my house in that jacket while The Baby was napping, like the biggest bad-ass ever to set foot in my living room...

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Balmain Dress...

Wherever I'd wear this, I have no idea, but it's stunning...

✜ Balmain  ✜
Balmain.  Pre-Fall 2012 2013 - Paris

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Colorful Fitness Inspiration...

Have you guys seen this video?  I've always had quite the fondness for Pink (or "P!NK" as she's called now).  Not only is she one of the very few ladies in the music industry capable of being in the "Pop" genre, and still be a totally believable bad-ass, but she appears to me madly in love with her hubby, and also seems to put a great deal of effort into herself to have a totally rockin' bod.  This takes the bod respect to a whole new level though.  Check it out...

Dear P!NK, you have my attention.  I would like to know how many billions of hours you have spent in the gym and doing those dance moves to get you that bod, and that level of control over your movements.  I have about 7 minutes each day free to work on this.  So how many light years away is my goal?  Oh, and I'd like the name of your hairdresser.  Your head looks way better half-shaved than mine did.  You probably had the good sense to actually use your hairdresser though, and not do it yourself...

Thanks for stopping by,