Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What a great year!

With just a few days left in the year, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what I've accomplished and am thankful for in 2014.  I feel like this year has been really epic for me.  I started my business and have already watched as it has changed and grown.  I've had lots of fun adventures with family and friends and at least one that involved me stepping way outside of my comfort zone.  I've had some amazing friendships with people who seriously keep me sane.  It's truly been such an excellent year and there is one thing that absolutely stands out as most amazing- getting to spend time with my brother, Jamie.
He's that handsome fella next to my handsome little Benny and he is seriously the best big brother a gal could ever ask for.  We have had more time apart in our lives than together, but I've always felt close to him. There were times growing up when I felt like he was the only one who could possibly understand things I was going through and often I felt like we were all each other had.  Jamie has had a less than ideal life, one that is exponentially shittier than he ever deserved.  He's absolutely the kindest person.  He cares and worries about others, a quality we share to a fault.

This year we have been fortunate to share more time together than we probably have shared in the past fifteen years.  I've gotten to visit him twice!  And he's come home to visit several times.  It has been so cool to see how much alike we are in so many ways, qualities we likely inherited from our dad, I've loved seeing him finally living a life he deserves, and it has been absolutely the best to see how over the moon my boys are for their uncle.

I'm looking forward to more opportunities to visit Jamie in 2015 and more time to chat and be silly and reminisce about good and not so good old times.  Let's hope next year is even better!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Music to Ring in the New Year

I never understood the hype behind New Year's Eve.  I get that it's the last day of the year, but in movies and on TV shows and even with many people in my life, there's always so much pressure to have the perfect evening.  And don't forget having someone to kiss at midnight.  I'm not much of a party gal, so I guess that's probably why I don't get it.  I will be home with my hubby and with my boys.  I think we will cook something fun for dinner and then play some board games.  Doesn't that sound perfect?  No fancy party, no cocktails, and we will probably be asleep before midnight.  I doubt I will even know the musical acts performing on the televised countdowns.  I noticed some of the songs on this list are a little depressing.  Maybe if this darn holiday was less of a big deal, these songs would be happier!  They are good, nonetheless, so enjoy!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Boxing Day!

I know we don't really celebrate Boxing Day here in the US, but I have friends in countries where it is observed.  For those who don't know, Boxing Day was traditionally the day churches opened up their donation boxes for the poor in order to distribute the contents.  Servants were also typically given off on this day, so they could celebrate with their families.  I like that it was a helping holiday.  A search for images related to the holiday have pretty much given away that it has turned into another excuse for big sales at the stores, but I think it should be a good reminder that as you are enjoying your gifts, those tasty holiday leftovers, and the warmth of your comfy home, there are those who do not have such luxuries.

I'm taking this time to encourage you all to do what you can to help those who are less fortunate.  That doesn't always mean just giving money or donating items.  It could just be spending some time listening and talking with someone.  I recently made Donnie stop and get some food for me to take to a homeless man along one of the interstate exits.  He was touched by our kindness and seemed pretty happy about the food, but I think what meant the most to him was that I stood and talked to him.  I listened to his story, asked where he was from, and held his hand while he thanked us.  We tend to keep to ourselves these days and ignore everything outside of our own little bubble.  We make snap judgments without learning people's stories.  Sometimes even a smile and a hello can make a difference!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to each and every one of my amazing readers and friends.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day full of laughter and love!  We will be opening gifts, watching the Disney parade, and filling our bellies with delicious treats.  xo

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Magic Kingdom

I'm actually really glad that I am just now getting to the Disney photos, because they are a great reminder of our vacation and enjoying some warmer weather.  We only visited two of the Disney parks this time, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.  The boys were overwhelmed with excitement during the entire visit to both parks, but especially at Magic Kingdom where they got to meet Buzz Lightyear and Donald Duck and lots of their other favorites.  I loved experiencing the park with them.  I think because Donnie and I were forced to go at a slower than usual pace and because our little guys were so excited, we enjoyed our time at Disney more than ever before.  I took loads of photos, so it was difficult to choose my favorites to share with everyone!
Donnie and I have always stayed on Disney property, so we have never had to park our car and take the ferry.  This was a new view for us and an amazing first view for the boys!
Seeing everything decorated for Christmas made the park seem extra special and lovely!
We loved this part of the park, especially because we got to meet Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy!  And there were plenty of rides for the boys!
Fact: Everything tastes better when it's shaped like Mickey Mouse!  My children and I can verify this.
It's A Small World is my very favorite ride at Disney World.  It is by far the cutest and I'm certain that it resembles the inside of my mind.  
The boys loved the Dumbo ride and the wait area includes an indoor playground, so bonus points on that one!
The amount of detail and extra touches Disney puts into everything just simply amazes me!  I wish I could find a replica of that little owl clock that hung in one of the restaurants!
There aren't even words to describe how beautiful the castle looked after dark.  It really was breathtaking!  I thought I would do this post ahead of time, because hopefully I am nowhere near a computer or phone right now and am enjoying some quality time with my family.  Happy Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Is it just me or did the holidays come extra quickly this year?!  I haven't really been too bothered with buying gifts, because we've been busy enough without the stress of shopping.  I am looking forward to a very short work week and lots of time with my guys and other family.  Our home and my office are both looking super festive and we've started taking our evening drives to check out lights and decorations.  I'm hoping to spend Christmas Eve baking and crafting with Donnie and the boys.  I think we need to make that a tradition!  And now, a little clip from my favorite Christmas movie.  What's yours?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shop Update

After what seems like a lifetime, I have finally updated my shop with all of my leftover stock.  The last month has so busy, so I actually looked forward to this downtime in front of the computer.  I may have even stayed in my pajamas today too, because clearly one needs to be comfortable to update a shop!  I won't be adding any new stock until after the new year, but I really can't wait to get back to work in my craft room.  Click the link at the top of my page to see what goodies I have left!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hooray For Happiness!

It's definitely no secret that I struggle with depression and anxiety from time to time and I've posted about it being pretty bad recently.  Well I finally had this a-ha moment and it was all so clear.  My birth control was playing a part in my awful moods!  I realized that on the weeks that I was taking a larger dose of hormones, I was miserable.  I was having unexplained anxiety, something I've had in check for a long time, and I was having some really low moments.  At my lowest, I deleted all of my social type apps and was prepared to just sort of shut myself off from some really great people in my life.  After spending quite a bit of time researching birth control effects online, it felt good to have some validation and to know that I wasn't alone in my experiences.  I sat down with Donnie and told him everything I had learned.  He told me to stop taking it right away and I didn't hesitate to listen.  Flash forward to a month later.  I am doing so well!  No crazy severe PMS symptoms, no depression or anxiety, and no migraines (another crappy side effect!).  I really feel like my old self and I can honestly say I haven't felt that way in ages!

I have lots more to share about our Florida trip, but I wanted to take a moment to share this really important piece of my life right now.  I haven't consulted my doctor about my choice yet, but I felt like this was one of those situations where I just needed to do what felt right for me.  Let's hope I can keep up this happiness business.  I know it's always something I will have to work for at times, but I think it will be easier from now on!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blue Springs

The last time I visited my brother, he talked about a springs where they go to see manatees and alligators. We didn't have time to get there on that visit, so we made sure to make time for Blue Springs on this trip.  I don't recall ever seeing a manatee in real life, so I was really excited about it.  Driving into the park that morning, we were told that there were about 160 manatees in the area.  What an amazing experience!  The water really was a gorgeous clear blue and there were so many manatees just floating about.  There were lots of other great wildlife too and the park itself was just so lovely.  I can see a repeat visit on our next trip to Florida!  I should really shut up now, because the pictures speak for themselves!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

South of the Border

I've never minded the long drive to Florida, because there is always lots to look at and tons of places to stop along the way.  One of my favorite things about the drive has always been the attention-getting signs for South of the Border and,of course, the kitschy attraction itself.  Did you know this attraction actually got its start in 1949?!  I'm actually a bit surprised that in today's ultra politically correct society this place still survives.  Its mascot is Pedro, a quite stereotypical character, and there is everything from an ice cream parlor to a hotel on the property now.  I think what gets me is that the place hasn't really changed much since my childhood when my family stopped there on our way to Florida.  The boys enjoyed all the giant statues and ice cream, so it was well worth the stop!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Handmade Arcade

This past Saturday was Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh.  I've been working like crazy to get lots done for my very first craft show and was feeling super excited to see everything all set up.  Heidi came along to help and we left late Friday morning, so we could take our time getting there and hit some thrift and antique shops along the way.  I'll have to show off those finds later!  Heidi is the best helper, by the way, in addition to being the very best road trip partner.  She was awesome at helping me set up and break down and regularly organized my table and kept it looking good.  She has been awesome through this whole thing, actually, offering lots of encouragement and suggestions.  I'm pretty sure I have her to thank for even applying in the first place!
Jessee made me the super cute banner!
How great is the doll face display my grandpa made me from scrap wood?!

The show was great and was seriously such a positive first experience!  I really enjoyed interacting with customers and hearing and seeing the reactions to my doll faces.  People ranged from completely enamored to totally creeped out.  I had lots of older women asking where I was even able to find those faces and some of my other vintage supplies. I really loved it when someone would get a little nostalgic over the faces or cake toppers.  It was a long day and one that I spent a lot of time preparing for, but it was also oh so worth it!  I got to meet a few Instagram friends, something I always enjoy, talk to so many sweet people, and sell lots of my creations.  I wasn't sure if selling at a show would be my thing, but I really can't wait to do it again!

I will be listing my leftovers on my Instagram shop for my followers to have first grabs and then I will put everything left in my shop!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Guess who??

November certainly flew by and without much blogging.  Here we are already into December and I am realizing that I really need to do some catching up!  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already have a good idea of what I've been up to and the most recent previous blog post pretty much sums it all up as well.  Now that all of the madness is over, I am looking forward to getting back to blogging and relaxing and actually enjoying this wonderful time of year!  Since it is Monday, I will leave you with a song for now!

This is Paul Baribeau and I really cannot get enough of his sweet voice and music.  Go listen to all of his music, especially his album of Bruce Springsteen covers!