3.31.2010

Stir-Fry My Home

I'm pretty sure I have never made my sordid past a secret here. Just in case you need a refresher,  I am not-so-domestic diva, turned full-on domestic diva. The kitchen and I have not always been BFF's! When I got married, it was an accomplishment to make a lasagna, and that was usually accompanied by "See you later honey...I have an appointment...we'll be having lasagna ALL week!" Poor hubby. Thankfully, things have changed.

We eat and enjoy foods that are very different from what I remember growing up {sorry Mom...I am outing us}. Other than BBQ's, I remember a lot of chip beef on toast with spinach, meatloaf, spaghetti, and lots and lots of burritos - all shape and sizes and kinds. We seriously loved our tortillas...my family was onto this wrap thing way before the rest of the world. We, however, did not partake in some of the more usual family meals, like casseroles...and rice as a side dish - oh no - rice was fancy. My Japanese friends ate rice all the time and I thought they were so cool!
When I met my hubby, he cooked for me. He loved to cook. One of the first meals he made me was a stir fry - in a real wok! Oh my! With rice! How exotic...how fancy! No wonder I married him. We actually ate stir-fry a lot - not necessarily always traditional stir-fry, but a stir-fry nonetheless.

We eventually got married...the stir-fry tradition continued...flourished. Whatever combination of flavors  hubby was using, their aroma danced in the air - in and outside of our house - soy sauce, teriyaki, ginger, chicken, onion, broccoli, celery - limitless options, all served over steaming rice. Thankfully my kids are good, adventurous eaters, and the art of the stir-fry lives on. The eat it up {literally}. If you ask my son what he wants to eat, just after cinnamon rolls {they are #1}, is stir-fry {it comes in at #2}.

So, while some people will tell you the smell of freshly baked cookies or banana bread remind them of home....how the delicious scent of these things take them back to a time when all was right and good, a time when we could guiltlessly eat cookies and carbs. I, in my ever so unusual way of looking at things, pick stir-fry as my delicious scent, my scent of home. A scent that was there when hubby and I were young and dating, and creating our place in the world. A scent that followed us into our married years, as we built a home and future together. Last Sunday, I left hubby and the kiddos at home and went out for some mommy time. As I pulled back into the driveway, I caught the scent right away. It enticed me, grabbed me, and welcomed me home, and there he was, at the stove, hubby whipping up a stir-fry.

This is our current fave variation of Welcome Home Stir-fry.
{non traditional, but we don't care} 
{I am going to do my best to offer my tutorials
and recipes in PDF format...we'll see what happens.}
What scent reminds you of growing up?
What scent reminds you of home now?
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I'm participating in...
Home is...

3.29.2010

I'll Be Tickled Pink on Friday {and have a little something for you}!

Hey all! 
OK, some of you may have noticed that
I am way behind with my commenting.
Um, yeah, I think I jinxed myself with that Blogiquette post!
{and I have two sick kiddos}
If you have not read it...you should and all of the comments.
{I'm not saying ya don't know etiquette, just saying it was a  good convo}
All of you had such great ideas, questions, and input...I LOVE it!
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Well, I'm Tickled Pink starts this Friday....
Who? What? Where? Will it be?
Anyone have a guess?
Just to recap...
I'm Tickled Pink will be an ongoing feature on Fridays
{if I can stick to a schedule...a little problem of mine.}
highlighting cool products, ideas, recipes, writings, bloggers, etc.
If it is fun, newsworthy, useful, or inspirational, I am looking for it.
Just drop me an email if you or someone
you know should be featured!
{email address is on my profile page}

To kick it off, I have a little giveaway.
Have you seen the Liberty of London line at Target?
I am just simply dying for one of everything...
especially a teapot...
you snooze you loose, I guess...
I actually went  one month without going to Target {gasp!}
and missed the first shipment with this coveted teapot.
I have scored a few items though...
A little birdie tells me the line will be there until May,
{don't quote me on that}
but I think my teapot will only live on in my dreams.
{they are going for up to $50 on ebay...originally $12.99!}.
So, here is what I have for you...
A super cute Liberty of London for Target mini-journal set.
 {photo from Liberty of London}

Come back on Friday, April 2, 210
to see what I'm Tickled Pink about and to enter.
Entering will be easy...
*One chance per person.
*You need to be a follower.
*You need to leave a relevant comment.
Contest closes Thursday, 4/8/10 and
the winner will be announced on Friday 4/9/10.

*****COMMENTS ARE OFF****
I'll be back with a regular post {and comments} on Wednesday.
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3.28.2010

Rethink A Natural High

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!
It's time for Rethinking day...
the last rethinking day...
with Bare Escentuals at Rethink What Matters.
 Today's topic is Rethink A Natural High.
Yeah, don't ya just love the themes.
I know you are always thinking I am
going to talk about something else.
My Natural High
As a mom I have flashes of brilliance, with a lot of sparks and misfires in between.
...I am not patient...I admit it that being a mother has been a test of patience for me.
...I like to move quickly...ya know "you can rest when you are dead" sort of philosophy, but tell that to a 2 year old collecting rocks for her brother.
...I am selfish, but have had to learn and fully accept that I made the decision to have children, and although I am still important, they are my #1 responsibility...they come first.

Even with all that {and I could go on}, there is one thing they give me that I could have never imagined...ever...they bring me a pure, simple, innocent joy...they are my natural high. Even on bad days, a smile, a giggle, a hug from them melts my heart. I can think of nothing that makes me happier than simply stopping and being in that moment, any moment, with my kids.

I will walk by Joe's room and hear him singing to Taylor Swift, and just stop in the hallway and listen. Sometimes I hear him telling himself a story or playing with his Pokemon {which I still don't get!}. He tells me silly jokes and I laugh and his eyes light up.
Jules makes me "coffee" all day. She gathers her baby dolls, has me swaddle each one perfectly, and reads to them. When I sing to her, she joins in and she always asks for more. I can often hear her singing to herself and am just simply delighted to hear that little voice.

The two playing together...their giggles, their love, it fills my home and my heart. Jules runs and hugs Joe after school - she misses him all day long. Joe reads to Jules, Jules snuggles with Joe. Just this week, Joe has been really sick and while "Monkey see, monkey do" Jules also wants to be sick, she is tending to her brother, making sure he is OK.

So at the end of the day, when Joe tells me "I love you more than the whole galaxy" and Jules tells me "I love you more than toast," I am higher than a kite and so very grateful for these little people who teach and test me on a daily basis.

So what's your natural high?
Go visit Rethink What Matters. Answer the five questions...{did I mention there are prizes?}. See below for a listing of previous posts in this series.
Happy Rethinking!
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BIG, HUGE thank to everyone who participated in this series with me.
Next Friday begins "I'm Tickled Pink" an on going feature highlighting cool products, ideas, writings, bloggers - you name it..if it is fun, newsworthy, useful, or inspirational, I am looking for it. Just drop me an email if you or someone you know should be featured....and grab a button too!
504 Main


Check out the previous posts in this series:

Rethink What Matters is a campaign by Bare Escentuals that challenges me...challenges all of us to Rethink What Matters. Each Friday through March 26, 2010, Bare Escentuals will pose a new topic for us to consider, to ponder, and to discuss. It is not just about makeup...it is about living your life and what is truly important. So gather your girlfriends...you never know what you'll discover! 

Want to join in on the discussion...
There are prizes and free products to be had..and more importantly thought provoking topics coming your way. Just visit Rethink What Matters to answer 5 simple questions. Then you can see how your answers compare with others. Seriously it takes no time at all to do this...and you may learn a little something about yourself or your friends! And if you are lucky enough to live in San Fransisco, New York, or Chicago the Quickie Van could be coming your way.
DISCLAIMER: So, here's the back story and legal who-ha I must include. I was contacted via email about this campaign and checked it out myself. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking. I was not paid for this review/post or compensated in any way (products or otherwise).

3.25.2010

DIY Day! Bag It and Wrap It Up!







I am all about a cheap craft. I generally consider most of my crafts to be frugal, cheap, thrifty...but when I stop to think about it...over the years I have made a serious investment in my crafting...so while many of my crafts don't cost a lot now...at one point they did {shhh...don't tell hubby}.

But oh how I was intrigued when I stumbled upon The Second Annual $5 Challenge. In a nutshell, you have $5, not including tax to create a home decor craft. You may use some items that you have on hand, paint, glue, paper, fabric, and tools. So, off I went to the Dollar Tree...and spent way more than $5, but for this craft, I was under $5! For $4, plus a few on hand items..I think I made a super-cute wreath!
Check it out!
At the bottom the post is another version...same price.
Which one do you like?
Bag it and Wrap it Up Wreath
Dollar Tree Items
-Round 9” wreath form
-Sisal twine
-Paper Bags {flat bottom, lunch size}
-Black inkpad

On Hand Supplies
-Glue stick {or adhesive of choice}
-Scissors

Step 1: Wreath
1. Wrap twine around wreath form tightly, not leaving form exposed. Tuck/weave in loose ends.

For another look...see OPTION #2 below..it is tres cute too!

Step 2: Flowers
Requires 3 flowers total: You need two 6” flowers and one 4” flower.
{I promise, this is not as hard as it seems with all of these steps !}
1. Cut bottom {the area that would lay flat if you opened it} off of paper bag. Then push out edges and flatten the bag.
 2. Determine the size of your flower…mine is approximately 6”. With Step 2 in mind tear the edges off each side to achieve your desired flower size.
3. Crumple the paper up into a ball, and then uncrumple and flatten with your hand. I chose to crumple the paper to mask the creases that were visible from the paper bag it used to be.
4. Fan/Accordion fold the crumpled paper. Fold in half to establish center.
 5. While holding in the paper in accordion fold, run folded edges and torn edges on both sides in black inkpad.
6. Cut a piece of twine, approx. 12”. In the middle of the twine, tie about 6 knots “on top of each other.” You can also make twine balls, by rolling the twine just like you would yarn into a ball, until desired size. I then dipped the knots/balls in some of the black ink.
7. Keep the paper in the accordion fold, crease to find the center, place knotted twine, with the knot at he top edge, and remaining string sandwiching the paper, tie in one knot at bottom, to hold.
8. Apply glue to this length of paper, and fold at the center point for edges to meet
9. Repeat gluing for other side, and old at the center point for edges to meet. You will have a “circle” with a knotted center at top and two long tails.

Assembly
1. Place the two large flowers (off-center to one side) and use the twine to tie them onto the wreath form (you can snip the tails of the twine, but leave a little for wiggle room…just tuck the ends
2. Place the smaller flower in the center of the two larger ones, kind of sitting atop the larger flowers. Tie on the wreath (maneuver the twine to go around/under the larger flowers.
Almost done!
1. For the hanger, take one of the excess (torn/ripped off) longer pieces of paper bag and twist it tightly.
2. Determine where you want you hanger to be placed and glue the twisted paper bag onto the wreath.
****NOTE**** You can also weave some twine in through the holes of the wreath form and tie the paper hanger on…OR use a thicker craft glue (or Mod Podge) to secure the hanger to the wreath. Be sure it dries completely

Ta-Da! All done...
What do you think?
Cute, eh?

Want a different look?...Here is OPTION #2:
Paint wreath form, not all at once. Paint then let dry and come back to continue touch ups and get into crevices.
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3.24.2010

Bill Was No Thrill

I am so excited to be a part of the inaugural
I have been following TT&R basically since
I started blogging and I really enjoy her blog
{and she is kind of a neighbor}
and now she is doing this new feature...so excited {squeal!}.
I choose "The Worst Date Ever" prompt. Now pretty much every date I went on could qualify for this, so the winner...the featured "one that {thankfully} got away" truly earned this honor because of how he ended the date.

Bill Was No Thrill
My friends are I were season ticket holders for the Los Angeles Kings. After each game we would head to The Kettle, a glorified Denny's-type restaurant in Manhattan Beach - we had always done this, but in recent times some of the players had begun to frequent the establishment and other the bars in the neighborhood...so we could eat and check out cute hockey players {I am a sucker for a hockey player}.

All through our late night meal, while I was looking at hockey players, this man had been staring at me. At this point I didn't date much - I was {OK, still am} a little awkward and was finding my self back then. He finally came over and introduced himself...Bill was his name....and I was {stupid and} all giddy. It actually hurts to think about how ridiculous I was.

He called the next day for a date...I went...whatever. He called for another...I went...whatever...When he called for a third date, he suggested a hill top restaurant that was more out his way. So, I offered to meet him out there.

I arrived at the restaurant, and discovered he was late, and had also invited another couple...a married couple from his work to join us. He acted as though we had been dating for awhile and via the conversation, I deduced he had told the other couple I was his girlfriend. It was just awkward, as the other couple started making out...lips smacking, hands groping, people moaning...EEWWW!  Eventually, Bill's brother and some other friends joined us...Saved...for now! Eventually, the group headed over to Bill's house, a house he shared with his brother.

Before I continue on, can I reinforce the fact that I was not really into this guy. Poor Bill was boring and little into himself. He paid for the dates {bonus points}, but made me yawn. He wasn't necessarily rude, or mean, or crass...or so I thought.

At one point, Bill excused himself, and at the brothers cue, the other guests mysteriously disappeared. A few minutes later Bill reappeared in a pair of rainbow striped bikini underwear. Bill was not attractive nor unattractive he just was and really was nothing to behold in a pair of bikini underwear.
Me:"Um...excuse me?"
Bill: "Do you like them?"
Me: "What are you doing?"
Bill" "They are for you. It is the third date."
Me: "...and that means....."
{OK, I am not stupid...I know what he wanted...he wasn't getting it...but a little torture was in order}
Bill: "It's time."
Me: "For me to go. Bye."

Needless to say, I didn't get a call the next day...but 9 months later I did.
Bill: "Hi, this is Bill. Have you been thinking about me?"
Me: "Who is this?" {I knew who it was}
Bill: "Bill, of course your remember. Don't play games with me. I have been thinking about you. Have you been thinking about me?"
Me: "I do not even know who this is...how could I be thinking about you?"
Bill: "Oh, come on. I am sure you wondered where I was."
Me: "What did you say your name was again?"
Bill: "Holly, how can you say you don't know me."
Me: "Sorry, I have dog poop to pick up."
Click

Poor Bill he was no thrill, except in his own mind.

Now the other prompt was "How did you met your husband/wife?" For that story, you can read my lovely little poem, The Boy With No Socks.

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Comeback tomorrow for DIY Day...I hope!

3.22.2010

DIY Day...NOT! Announcements and Pondering Blogiquette

Life got in the way of DIY Day!
But that it's all good…one is coming later this week.
It was a great weekend with the family and friends….
all part of my rethinking my priorities.
Anyway, thought I’d use today to do a little housekeeping…
And stay tuned...a few giveaways are coming up!
Part I
There is a new writing prompt, Write On with Tattoos and Teething Rings. The prompts are up now and the Mr. Linky goes up on Tuesday. Go visit HERE to check out the link.

Part II
This Friday, March 26 is the last day of "rethinking" and Bare Escentuals is giving away a B-I-G prize! Go take the quiz and get entered! Once rethinking is done {at least on the blog}, I will be showcasing a new product, idea, recipe, you-name-it on Fridays. What the heck you say? I have been so impressed with projects I have seen, people I have met, recipes I have tried, that I would love to share them with everyone. I have the first few lined up already...so if you have a "discovery" email me {it is on my profile} with the particulars...you will get some recognition too via a link! I am still thinking of a name for the feature/day...Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? It starts, April 2!

Part III
For the post on the letter project with Wasabi Mommy Project, click HERE. Also, a BIG thank you to Wasabi Mommy {she knows why!}.
*******EDIT******
Wasabi Mommy is experiencing technical difficulties...for now, please click HERE to see a compilation of her posts {that I did on this blog}.

Part IV
Now, let's cause some controversy...nah just kidding, but I thought it is time to touch on a post I have had in the edit section since December…blogging etiquette. I am not the first to address the situation. I am not going to preach or rant {I could} or make you believe that I have it totally right, but I totally believe in bloggy etiquette, and do my best to adhere to it and what I think is good bloggy etiquette.

I consider myself to still be a newbie, but some basic principles were pretty apparent early on, especially as I visited more blogs and comments and all I ever got was {crickets chirping}. So I quit visiting…why should I participate when it seems no one cares? To me that is what blogging is {partly} about. OK, then I started again, I visited a few big bloggers and I actually received responses…different kinds…some would send an email back, some would comment on my post, some would do both. I was thrilled.

I still have blog nerves when I visits "big" blogs. Recently I visited It's So Very Cheri. I was nervous {yes, I am a dork!}...I had seen Cheri's blog around since before I began blogging, I had heard about her linky parties and seen her "I've been featured at..." buttons around. I figured she would never respond to me. Man oh man was I wrong. Cheri is a perfect example of how bloggers should treat one another. She just recently moved to Wordpress...so go visit her if you have not already and follow along, you will not be disappointed with her creativity and inspirations.

This all leads me to my oh-so-scientific formula of...
MY Blogiquette Do's:
{I cannot say that I have not missed a blogger here or there along they way but it was not on purpose…I just messed up - it happens...ask my kids.}

Comments
1. The number one way I respond to comments is by visiting your blog and commenting. HOWEVER if your blog is not linked to your profile and you do not leave the URL in the comment, I cannot…I have had a handful of these instances recently and I feel bad…and the emails are also “No-Reply @ Blogger,” so there is no way to contact anyone. If you need to know how to link your email, go to your dashboard, click on edit profile, go down to the box that says "Show my email address." Don't want to plug up you regular inbox?...Get a free email {it is easy} and add it further down on that same page where it says "Email Address."
2. If you ask me a question, I will answer it in an email or at your blog {if you are a no-reply @ email person}.
3. I try to leave a decent comment. I won’t lie…I have visited some blogs and I am at a loss, but I think of something beyond “great post.” Unless of course, your comment to me was "Nice post." You may just get that back. Warning I use "love" and "fabulous" a lot but only if I mean it!
4. Personally, I think it is rude to not respond at all to someone who visits and takes the time to comment. This happens to me a lot and it is my pet peeve. So, I strive to respond to comments.

Linky's and Blog Hops
1. If I join a Blog Hop/Blog Party {via a linky} I will always follow the person whose blog I am joining the party at {it only seems fair}. I will leave a comment as well {I have slipped up there a time or two when it has been late at night}.
2. If I join in someone’s giveaway, I will follow too…most require this, but even if they don’t, it only seems fair.
3. I have never hosted a linky, so I will remain silent about the host/hostess job until I do.

Following
1. As far as following goes…if you follow me, I will generally follow you {unless you are weird...sorry but I do have some blocked followers}…if you leave a comment and let me know!
2. Do I unfollow people?…I will be honest, yes I have – just a handful…but for very good reasons…they have become offensive or just have plain have tacky behavior. Occasionally an attack of {millions and millions of} crickets have caused this, but only if there is another reason as well.
3. I do participate in Friday Follow/Making Friends/Etc. parties and follow the rules…if you follow me, I follow you. Am I going to be able to visit all of these blogs...no, are they going to always be able to visit me, no...but I will not unfollow for that reason.
4. EDIT***I follow different blogs for different reasons, and I am sure different people follow me for different reasons. I touch on cooking, crafting, creative writing, etc., so I am not surprised I have a big reading list.
5. EDIT***I follow blogs I want to follow. If after continued comments, no one responds, I may continue to read, but not bother commenting anymore.

Reading Blogs
Um yeah, I would have to win the lottery to be able to sit on my behind and read every blog I follow. I do not even know the number and really do not want to. So here is how I read...
1. If you comment on my blog...you are first on the list of who I visit.
2. When I finish visiting the commenters on my blog then I hit my folder of must read blogs - ones with great writing, great ideas and inspiration {they do not all get comments...lots of crickets chirping}.
3. Then I hit the reader.

***EDIT***NOTE***3/25/2010
Yet another edit...I realized this sounds like I am calling out big blogs, but I have also gotten a lot of crickets from small and medium blogs too. Also, I will comment 1-2 {sometimes more depending on the blog} just in case...I know I miss a comment here and there but when you miss 2,3, and 4 times...that is just ignoring.

Edit 3/23/10
Katie of Katie's Nesting Spot brought up a very good point that I did not touch on here - so I am adding it...In her own words..."If your craft or idea is inspired by someone else you should say so, and leave their name, not "here" and link. I also think if you take someone's photos for a feature you should always drop them a line, telling them so."

Building trust and a community, to me, are essential components of blogging. It is only fair to link and credit the source of the inspiration or photo.I am pretty sure I have done this continually...giving someone else the credit they deserve is no skin off my back and helps us all. And I know I need to start watermarking my photos!

EDIT....3/22/10!!!
Matty {yeah, he rocks} left a comment that summed up a lot of what I wish I had said. "...When I didn't have as many followers as I do now, and wasn't following as many blogs as I do now, I was able to read and comment on every single post of every blog I followed. Every single one. And I religiously replied to every single comment I got on my own posts.

It has now reached a point where with work, life and family responsibilities, and the ever growing number of blogs, that I had to make a decision....for my time and my sanity. I now no longer have the time to read and comment on every single post. I just get to as many as I can, starting with my favorites and the people who visit me. And with a few exceptions, I have stopped replying to comments just to save time. Instead, I make it a point to read and comment on their blog.

The days of double dipping.....commenting on their blog AND replying to their comments on mine are just too time consuming anymore."

I enjoy blogging {maybe too much}. I try to treat other bloggers, whether they have 5 followers of 1500 followers, with respect. I do get behind in my commenting and posting, but try to make up for it...
I am only one woman with two wild kiddos!

What do you think?
Have anything to add?
Experienced any bad or good blogiquette?
{I am keeping a personal list...he, he, he} 
Am I crazy? Had enough of me yet? 
Have a good name for my Friday Thingy? 
*****EDIT*****
OK ALL THIS IS A HOT TOPIC...
I AM PUTTING A LINK ON MY SIDEBAR WITH
MY CRAFTS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. 
THANKS EVERYONE FOR WEIGHING IN.

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3.19.2010

Rethink Your Story

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!
It's time for Rethinking day with
Bare Escentuals at Rethink What Matters.
 Today's topic is Rethink Your Story.
{Disclaimer Alert} If you read Rethink and Grow,
you will see some serious similarities here.

When I was in college, or even high school for that matter, it was easy to imagine what my life was going to be...I had it all planned out. I was not going to get married or have kids. I wanted to go to design school in New York (I did go to design school...but in L.A.) and be the next Donna Karan. That was it - end of story - I was going to be fabulous and successful and never look back. Since then I have had to rethink...and rethink...and rethink my story.

I never imagined I would do anything with my life other than be a fashion designer...but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I got married and hubby gave me the opportunity to explore a new path. He despised the last two bosses I worked for {um yeah, they were creeps in different ways} and he really hated where most of the companies were located - not the safest neighborhoods {do I have stories!}.

So hubby said {pleaded with me, really}, "Quit your job." I did and not long after than I received a phone call at 7 am {seriously 7 am! I am not working and do not have kids...who's calling at 7 am?}. It was a crazy woman {yet another story} asking me if I could write a book or part of a book...huh? "Sure," I say, "I got a A in English."

After that, I began working on my second book, and became a wedding planner. These events changed my story. Set me on a different path...a path that felt right and that I continued on...Until I became a mom - we all know how that changes our story {dads too!}. And then I moved...another change. Another kid...another change. With every change, I rethink my story.

My story is no where near done. I am not sure how it will end or what the next chapter will be. I want to write more, I want to be involved with my kids, I want to create beautiful things, I want to relax and enjoy this wonderful life I am so grateful for.

Of course, my letters will help tell my story to my kids one day. And, when all is said and done, I hope my story includes that I was a good friend, a good daughter, a good mom, a good wife. That I was kind, respectful, responsible, passionate, and compassionate. And I won't lie, or try to pretend that I do not want my story to include that I was successful in my career and looked fabulous while doing it all.


So, what's your story?
How has your story changed?
What are you hoping your story includes?

Go visit Rethink What Matters. Answer the five questions...{did I mention there are prizes?} Then come back next week for some more!
Happy Rethinking!
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Check out the previous posts in this series:
Rethink and Grow
Rethink Your Environment
Rethink...Finding Yourself
Rethink PDA 
Rethink What A Revolution Feels Like 
Rethink Your Must Haves
Rethink What You Are Investing In
Rethink Friends With Benefits 

Rethink What Matters is a campaign by Bare Escentuals that challenges me...challenges all of us to Rethink What Matters. Each Friday through March 26, 2010, Bare Escentuals will pose a new topic for us to consider, to ponder, and to discuss. It is not just about makeup...it is about living your life and what is truly important. So gather your girlfriends...you never know what you'll discover! 

Want to join in on the discussion...
There are prizes and free products to be had..and more importantly thought provoking topics coming your way. Just visit Rethink What Matters to answer 5 simple questions. Then you can see how your answers compare with others. Seriously it takes no time at all to do this...and you may learn a little something about yourself or your friends! And if you are lucky enough to live in San Fransisco, New York, or Chicago the Quickie Van could be coming your way.
DISCLAIMER: So, here's the back story and legal who-ha I must include. I was contacted via email about this campaign and checked it out myself. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking. I was not paid for this review/post or compensated in any way (products or otherwise).

3.17.2010

The Written Word - A Project With Wasabi Mommy

From as far back as I can remember, on my birthday - the exact day - a special card would arrive. I would anxiously wait for the mailman, and the delivery of my birthday card from Aunt J and Uncle G.* It was the same every year...a cute card and twenty bucks! Of course when I was 10...13...16, I was more excited about the twenty bucks than the card or any accompanying sentiment. Twenty+ years later and I am more excited about the sentiment.
On my seventeenth birthday, the card did not come. I waited...I waited...Aunt J never missed a birthday...ever. A few weeks later, a letter arrived...not the usual card and no money. Even at seventeen, I realized this letter was something I would keep forever. It was not written on fancy stationery, but it was hand written in my aunt's beautiful penmanship and the words still have a special place in my heart.
So, yes I {heart} real mail, and as evident from the responses I had after posting the note my great aunt sent to my great grandmother, I am not alone. I mean, really, have I...have you...ever printed out an email and tucked it away as a keepsake? NO, I have not!...but I do have my aunt's letter, a letter from my high school English teacher, some special cards, notes from girlfriends {written when we were supposed to be quietly working at our school desks!}, and some {very tame} letters from a boy I dated.
Wasabi Mommy
With all this thought about the written word, well, it must be fate, because my bloggy bud Wasabi Mommy began a series about letter writing and journaling. I thought it was a fabulous idea. Over the last few weeks, Wasabi Mommy, has posted 14 days worth of topics. I have read them all and they have really made me think, and I am doing the prompts {I will post some excerpts when I am done}. Just so ya know, there is a catch, and here it is straight from Wasabi Mommy {don't go all morbid on me...just think about it for a second}...

"The catch is they are for them to read upon your death...I find letters to be simple and honest expressions of a persons values and a reflection about your life. It is a window for your child or grandchild to see what you were like or how you thought about things, ideas and them. It can be filled with your hopes for them for the future- the gift of reading some one we loves thoughts is a treasure. I have a few cards my dad wrote me over my life, but no letters and boy do I wish I did."

What...are you freaking out...thinking "I have a blog to write. How can I do more?" Well, don't freak!!!!! Wasabi Mommy has made it so easy...she has the prompts, as well as her own letters, thoughts, and tips posted too. You need to go over there now and check these out...read them, and consider jumping in on the letter writing. She also has great book recommendations that accompany the 14 days or writing.

So, there ya have it a link to each of her 14 days. 
{She also has great projects for the little people in our lives.}
Visit a compilation I did of her posts HERE {on this blog}.

I simply {heart} this project.
I think it would be absolutely amazing for
my children to have these letters one day...
what I would give to have these

letters from any of my relatives...
priceless! 

Please go visit Wasabi Mommy,
leave her some comment love,
follow along {it's at the bottom},
and consider joining in on this project.

Do you write letters?
Are you in?
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*Aunt J and Uncle G are actually my great aunt and uncle. They were basically the closest thing I had to grandparents at this point, as my grandparents passed away when I was very young.

I'm Not Here...Well, I Am But I'm Not...Go Visit Sumo

Hello Friends!
I am doing my first ever guest post at
I {heart} her blog - crafts, tutorials, yummy recipes galore!
Have you visited Sumo before?
If not, go NOW!
Check out my recipe for
If you are coming by from Sumo's...THANKS!
Here's a few links to check out.

Come back later...
I am posting about a really fabulous project Wasabi Mommy
has done on journaling and letter writing.
Thanks for stopping by!
THANKS to Sumo for having me!
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3.15.2010

Fun with Eggs: Coffee Dyed and Labeled Eggs

The list of my obsessions continues to grow.
Now I am adding eggs and vintage labels to the list
Someone stop me!
I do not have time to obsess about anything else.
{I have to sleep sometime!}
But I have always wanted to blow out eggs and now I did..
and then I dyed them in coffee, and then I added vintage labels. 
Pretty!
Coffee Dyed Blown Eggs
{pretend that one egg is right side up}


I have always wanted to blow out an egg {...is there a better term?} and decorate the shells...but I was a chicken {Ha, Ha!}. I figured I would break them...it would be messy...too much work. Well, a few weeks ago for my tablescape I tried it...and boy oh boy I was so very wrong. This was easy-peasy {and I am even a messy crafter}. 

Part I...Blow Them Out
I am sure you can find more intricate details and instructions out there on the Internet...somewhere, but I am all about easy. Here are my steps...and since I am all about using what I got...I used a very clean nail {sterilized it} and blew my eggs out over a bowl...and made quiche for dinner.
Directions
-Poked a whole with a (clean) nail in each end of the egg.
-One side had a larger hole, the other a smaller
-Put a skewer in one end and sort of mashed up the yolk...then blow from the side with the smaller hole {over the sink or a bowl}.
-It was not hard to blow them at all...just make sure their are holes in each side and the holes are big enough - start small and make them bigger if necessary.
-I have also heard you can use those suctioners you get for little kiddos to suck their noses out. Or you can actually buy a egg blowing tool.
{see the holes on top...the bottom ones are slightly bigger}
Part II...To Dye For
I put two scoops of instant coffee in a large bowl and boiled about 4 cups of water. I made my coffee dye and then put my eggs in...since their is nothing in them, they float so you have to turn them...I tried putting a medium size bowl on top to weigh them down...it sort of worked. I kept mine in for a few hours.
{The plain coffee-dyed eggs}
Part III...Since I am Not a Chicken Anymore...Labeled Eggs
Well, I loved my pretty little caffeine infused beauties, but it was time for a makeover. Off to visit The Graphics Fairy for some tres {pretend there is an accent over the "e"} chic vintage labels. And the craft store because I just had to try Sparkle Mod Podge!
Supplies
-Blown and dyed {and dry!} eggs
-Mod Podge Matte Finish {or your preference}
-Mod Podge Sparkle
-Paint brush
-Scissors or Exacto knife
-Labels from The Graphics Fairy {or clip art, letter, etc.}
-I also used skewers and a round Styrofoam form to hold them while I was painting them and they were drying
-Patience {I always have to remind myself of this}
-Ribbons, buttons, bead - optional for adornment {I didn't do this...but I want to!}
Directions
-Cut out labels
-Apply a layer of Mod Podge all over the egg {This makes the eggs more durable too}
-Let dry slightly
-Apply Mod Podge to back of label
-Affix label to egg, while smoothing paper down onto egg
-Coat with a lyer of Mod Podge, let dry for 20 minutes or so.
{I applied another layer of Mod Podge, specifically over the label area - don't tell, I use my finger so I could really smooth out the paper...did I mention I am a messy crafter?}
-Let dry
-I wanted a little sparkle...but not too much...so I used Mod Podge Sparkle
{I am in L-O-V-E}...just a hint of glimmer and sparkle..perfection!

Now, hop on over and see how I used these eggs for my Spring Table Decor


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This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre
Today's Creative Blog

3.11.2010

Rethink Friends With Benefits

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!
It's time for Rethinking day with
Today's topic is loaded...
Rethink Friends With Benefits.
I had a friend with {some} benefits once
{get your minds out of the gutter peeps - I said some benefits!}
and it wasn't so beneficial.

So, in keeping with my G and sometimes PG rated blog, let's chat about friendships. Personally, I think all friendships come with benefits. All friendships are not the same and friends come in and out of our lives for different reasons...and let's face it sometimes that's the part that hurts our hearts.

Some friends inspire.
Some friends push you towards greatness.
Some friends are always ready to listen.
Some friends you just have fun with.
And if you are lucky, you find a few special people
that encompass all of these things.
When a friendship is good and true and real it stands the test of time.
Now, let's explore some friendships....

"Girl" Friends
I have a group of 3 friends...two of them I have know since 2nd grade. One of the group I met in my sophomore year of high school. At one point we all lived in So. Cal. We graduated high school together, went off to college and came back. We went to each others weddings...we were in each others weddings, we laughed, we cried, we had fun...and as we got married and had kids, our kids played together. Two of us have moved from So. Cal. {I am one} and we all do not talk as much as I would like or as we used to, but I know that I can call any of them at any time and they will be there for me...that is a friend with benefits.

"Boy" Friends
Some time after college, I ended up hanging out with a group of boys I had known since high school {and some before}. It was perfect...none of them were dating anyone say, and I was dating someone...but it was not quite "right." When I look back, it was some of the best times of my life. We went to clubs and bars, we went water skiing and boating, we had BBQ's. I was even the "go-to" gal for work parties and events - I got to go to a lot of cool events. I reconnected with them all via Facebook, and saw them at my high school reunion and was reminded of the fun times. Times have changed...it all changed after I got married. But I will always remember the ease we had with each other and the friendships that meant so much to me at that time of my life...And really, what is better than celebrating Easter with burnt hamburgers and guacamole while watching the Ten Commandments?

{Old} New Friends
When I had to move a few years back, I was terrified. How was I supposed to make new friends? My entire life was in L.A. Well, it took a little while, but it happened. I was warmly welcomed by some wonderful ladies up here and am so thankful for the friendships that have welcomed us in our new home. They provide fun and friendship and support beyond what I could ever imagine. I would be remiss to not mention the friends I have reconnected with via Facebook...without FB, I would have missed out on "new" relationships that I never expected or imagined I would find.

"Blog" Friends 
How can I not mention all my new blog friends. When I first started this blog, I expected nothing really. I figured I would ramble on and I urged a few friends to follow. Boy was I wrong...I am truly amazed at the inspirational and talented and witty men and women I have met in blogland. I am thankful for the interaction I have with everyone and am truly enjoying the connections I have found here.

That's it...a look a some friendships in my life. I am happy and blessed to have been friends with some amazing people...some are still a part of my life and others are not, but they are not forgotten, nor has their imprint on my life.

Have you had a friend with benefits? What do you consider to be a benefit? Do you offer any benefits? {keep it clean people! I sure hope I am not deleting obnoxious comments tomorrow from the jokesters out there.}

Go visit Rethink What Matters. Answer the five questions...{did I mention there are prizes?} Then come back next week for some more!
Happy Rethinking!
Rethink What Matters is a campaign by Bare Escentuals that challenges me...challenges all of us to Rethink What Matters. Each Friday through March 26, 2010, Bare Escentuals will pose a new topic for us to consider, to ponder, and to discuss. It is not just about makeup...it is about living your life and what is truly important. So gather your girlfriends...you never know what you'll discover! 

Want to join in on the discussion...
There are prizes and free products to be had..and more importantly thought provoking topics coming your way. Just visit Rethink What Matters to answer 5 simple questions. Then you can see how your answers compare with others. Seriously it takes no time at all to do this...and you may learn a little something about yourself or your friends! And if you are lucky enough to live in San Fransisco, New York, or Chicago the Quickie Van could be coming your way.
DISCLAIMER: So, here's the back story and legal who-ha I must include. I was contacted via email about this campaign and checked it out myself. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking. I was not paid for this review/post or compensated in any way (products or otherwise).