Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Moving On...New URL

Well, I think I'm going to go ahead and go for Typepad afterall. I'm still on the 14 day trial, so if anything major happens, I'll head back to my tried and true Blogger. But, for now, I'd really like to give Typepad a shot and maybe figure out what all the buzz is about. Wish me luck.

Oh, and I want to take all of you fine folks with me! So, if you're reading this, I've moved here: http://thechiclife.typepad.com/ - please come visit me, I'd love to see you!


Diana :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

...And the Winner of the Flirting in the Dark Set Is...

...And the Winner of the Flirting in the Dark Set Is...Shredz! I guess that double-entry paid off! :)

Congrats to Shredz for winning the Flirting in the Dark jewelry set I made for my jewelry biz, D Celestine Limited!

Shredz, please email me your shipping address at thechiclife at gmail dot com

Thanks everyone for playing! Stay tuned for my next contest!

:) D

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blogger Vs. Typepad

So, I'm thinking of switching The Chic Life over to Typepad (but I'm definitely leaving Shopaholics Anonymous on Blogger). Does anyone have experience with both? Which one is better? I've been pretty happy with Blogger, there are a couple features on Typepad that are appealing to me. The major downside? Having to pay for it! Blogger is free!

I'm doing the 14-day trial now - the layout is nearly the same as my Blogger, but in case you curious, it's here: http://thechiclife.typepad.com/

Any opinions of the potential move or opinions about Typepad vs. Blogger?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mr. Funky Super Crochet Hat

I have to admit, I can become pretty OCD, pretty quickly when it comes to craft supplies and books. Something in me tells me to buy...BUY! Perhaps it's not an OCD thing so much as shopaholicism, but either way, I had to force myself to stop buying so many craft books to fulfill my newest crafty cravings in the means of knitting & crochet (or anything I can do to make good use of my quickly growing yarn stash). Thank goodness Christmas was coming around the corner when I put myself on craft-supply-probation, so I took the opportunity to request craft books from friends and family. I ended up getting three of my fave choices, including the super cool, Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful, which is turning out to be my fave at the moment because of all the simple and short projects, including an adorable hat & scarf set.

What? You thought the book was only about Amigurumi characters? So did I, until I read through all the reviews. The reviews on Amazon are really great. People typically leave very valuable feedback, like "this book is great for beginners" or "this book is not great for beginners" (very important details for me right now). I always read the reviews before I buy a book - they're sometimes more useful than flipping through the book, yourself, in the book store.

As usual, I dove straight into a couple projects, including the aforementioned hat & scarf set. I'm making this set for myself, partly because I think it's adorable and partly because this will be my first crochet hat and if I make any mistakes, I'd rather keep them than pass them on in a gift. Yes, I'm a type-A perfectionist...not that a couple minor flubs here and there aren't likely to happen no matter how experienced I end up getting with this craft, but if any major disasters happened, I wanted to hold on to them and learn for when I make one as a gift.

So far, so good. I really like this pattern, actually. It's been pretty simple to follow - mostly SC and DC and a couple slip stiches here and there....oh, and of course some chains, but I've been moving along on this one pretty quickly. I like the hat so much, I even got some yarn in another colorway to make a second hat for a friend or loved one...or giveaway, time permitting. We'll see.

NOTE: First Mr. Funky book image by amazon.com

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Giveaway: Flirting in the Dark

Well, I've decided to kick-off the giveaways today, so get ready, because I have lots of fun goodies planned to ship off to you fine friends. I'd love to do some sort of weekly giveaway for a certain period of time, but I honestly can't commit to a weekly giveaway. Some weeks I have a harder time finding the time to post than others. What I can commit to is several giveaways over the next couple months, so check back often for the next goodie I'm giving away.

Since I was on vacation this past weekend, and I'm still finishing up Christmas gifts (better late than never, right?), as well as working on some handmade birthday gifts, I haven't had time to create much of anything crafty just for fun, so I'm giving away something I already have made. Enter this week to win this beautiful necklace & earring set, "Flirting in the Dark."

(click here for necklace details)

This necklace set is very versatile with peacock colored freshwater pearls and shell beads and sterling silver. I love the peacock color because it goes with almost everything, making it a very wearable necklace for everyday occasions to your Little Black Dress (LBD) event.

(click here for earrings details)

This fun, handmade jewelry set retails at $62, but you can enter this contest to win it for FREE! This jewelry set is part of my jewelry collection that I design and create under my business name, D Celestine Limited.


Two Ways to Enter (and you can do both if you want to enter twice!):
1. Leave a comment on this post (only one comment per person, unless you do #2, too)
2. Do a post about the contest on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post (if you do a post about the contest, you may use either or both of the two Flirting in the Dark images in your contest post)

All entries must be received by Sunday morning (1/13/08 noon EST), as the winner will be selected Sunday evening.

Good luck everyone!

Orlando - Day 1 - Dinner Theater

So, we left for Orlando last Friday for a long-weekend vacation. My sister was sweet enough to stay at our place and take care of Bailey - thanks sis! The first day of our Orlando vacation went pretty smoothly. We finished packing that morning, caught our plane in the afternoon and arrived right around 4PM, which was time perfectly by my SO, so we could go straight to the hotel and check in.

We took the complimentary shuttle to the car rental place, got our car and headed to our hotel. (See the airport in the background? I suppose technically, that is a hotel connected to the airport, but you get the jist)

We arrived at our hotel, checked in and settled in to relax for just a bit. We had the whole evening to spend at our will, so I decided to take my SO to a dinner theater. I remember growing up in Orlando that a dinner theater was a great thing-to-do in tourist-town and that we tried pretty much every dinner theater in town. My fave was King Arthur's Court, but that apparently shut down a few years ago. My next fave was Arabian Nights, so we chose that for the night. A quick tip on dinner theaters - check with your hotel concierge, because they can usually get you discounted tickets. Just remember to tip them - not sure what the going tip is for a concierge so if anyone knows, leave a comment, if you don't mind - I hope we gave her enough!

We accidentally drove to Disney (missed our turn on 536) so after some circular driving, we finally made it to Arabian Nights just in time to catch the end of the magician pre-show. After a greeting from some dude in a purple robe, we were let in to the arena where salads were waiting for us. Thank goodness because we were starving!

Now, I did check some reviews for the place before we headed over and they all said the food was terrible, especially the steak. I decided to go with the chicken option, which I thought was pretty good. The chicken didn't have much flavor, but it wasn't quite as bad as I expected based on the reviews.

My SO decided to try the steak, which he wasn't thrilled with, but I warned him! An important thing to know about dinner theaters is that you don't go for the food - you go for the entertainment. If you go to a dinner theater, don't expect to be blown away by the food - it's good, but usually not great.

Now, while I found the show to be pretty entertaining, another important thing to know about dinner theaters is that they're just that - "theaters." Your kids will probably end up having a better time than you, but I suppose it depends on what you're expecting. You also need to remember you're in Orlando where they're trying to market towards tourists. The show will probably be silly, corny, and sometimes over-the-top, so don't expect Broadway.

I had a good time. The show was pretty good, the horses were beautiful, and I thought the riders did some pretty amazing tricks - flipping, juggling, balancing, and all that fun stuff.

All in all, I'd say a dinner theater is a good thing to do in Orlando, but only if you're willing to let yourself have a good time without expecting complete perfection from the food and the show. My fave dinner theaters are: Arabian Nights, Medieval Times, and Sleuths Mystery Dinner theater. If you want a perfect dinner theater, you may want to try one of the Disney ones - they're not perfect, but Disney has an extremely high standard with everything they do, so you may like it more than the ones around I-Drive (International Drive - the "tourist area"). The only one I've done is the Luau at the Polynesian Resort and it was very good!

Has anyone out there done a dinner theater before? What did you think?

New Year's Dinner

Before I start with the Orlando posts, I wanted to take a minute to do a quick post related to New Year's Day. I meant to post about this before I left, but I'm sorta one of those people who like to do things last minute...or maybe not so much one who likes to do things last minute but ends up doing things last minute, so last Friday I had the choice to pack or do this post. I chose packing, which I think was a pretty good decision, eh?

But back to the New Year's thing I was curious to see if anyone else out there has a New Year's tradition as far as foods go. Since I grew up in the south, I've been raised to eat collard greens and black eyed peas on New Year's for good luck and fortune.

Does anyone else out there eat collard greens and black eyed peas or maybe some other traditional food? We had our greens and peas with some sauteed chicken and some nice hearty wheat bread. Looking back on it, I think cornbread is more traditionally served with the greens and peas, but I forgot. Oopsie! Maybe I'll remember next year?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Be Back Soon...I'm Going to Disneyworld!

Hey friends!

Just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to let you know that I'm going to be on vacation for awhile - we're going to Disneyworld! Woohoo! So, we'll be theme-parking and what not, so I won't be able to post for a few days as we're flying out tomorrow (Friday) and won't get back till Monday. But, check back next week, because I'm going to be doing some fun giveaways soon! Yay!

Oh, and I'm going to start by giving away some fun stuff I already have but I might just be able to be coerced into making a little somethin somethin for a giveaway so drop me a comment if you want me to give away something specific (i.e. handmade purse, handmade apron, thrifted tea cup...etc).

Have a great weekend!

Hugs to all,

:) Diana

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year, New Look

This has nothing to do with my New Year's Resolutions, but I've been wanting to make-over my blog template for awhile. Here's a quick lil switcheroo for now. It's not a major change, but I think it gives the blog a whole different feel.



What do you think?

It's All Fun and Games Until...

Here's Bailey looking cute as can be and oh-so-innocent on our couch.

It's all in fun games until someone pees on the couch. Yes folks, that's right, our little angel peed all over our couch last night.

We were mad, but not too mad...How can you stay mad at a face like that? It's impossible!

What's Up With That?

Call it luck or fate, but either way, I hardly ever win contests! What's up with that? I'm not sure why I don't seem to have the best fortune with winning stuff, but what I do know is that times are a-changing! I recently won a fabulous handmade Namesake from the talented crafter, Stephanie, over at Crafty Lolly. Isn't it beautiful?

Made with my favorite color, light turquoise (aka Robin's egg blue), this fabulous little stuffie also has flowers and buttons and other fun knick-knacks, including, my personal fave, a French spoon. I'm not sure if I've ever professed my love for French stuff on The Chic Life before, but basically, I went to France twice in high school on an exchange. I also minored in French in college...for fun. :) But, that's all another story for another day.

Today is about this fabulous Namesake! Here's a closer picture with more detail so you can take in the full awesomeness of it. Oh yea! Thanks for making this for me, Stephanie!

And speaking of contests and organizing, I've decided to have a couple giveaways, so stayed tuned for more info on that! I've got some great stuff to giveaway! :) Some handmade...some thrifted...all fab!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year, New You - Organizing - Part 1

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by my little blog. I've realized lately that I don't communicate very well how much I appreciate everyone stopping by and taking the time to comment (or just lurking and enjoying my photos and stories...that's cool too). But, comments are my favorite, so if you're shy and not sure if you should comment or not, here's me saying, bring it on! I love to read all the comments people leave...it's one of my favorite things to pop into my email inbox, which is where I see them first since my comments are moderated.

With that said, it's a new year, and time for a new you, if you so choose to re-invent or update yourself, of course. I'm a very goal-driven person, so I love the start of the new year because it gives me an excuse to create new goals for myself. As a Type-A perfectionist, I'm always on the look-out for ways to improve myself, my habits, my home, my life, and I see the new year as a great time to really dig into any new improvement ideas.

So, what are your New Year's Resolutions for '08? Mine are:
1. Pay off my business credit card
2. Get better control over my finances
3. Get organized
4. Especially, organize craft room
5. Stay organized (i.e. pick up after myself to maintain organization)
6. Start a monthly date night with my SO
7. Stop procrastinating

That's it for now...short list, I know. There are many more things I could improve, but these are the areas I'd like to focus on: finances & organization. I was reading an article on MarthaStewart.com about organization tips and 6 things to do everyday (can't seem to locate the article...sorry!) to help yourself stay organized and at some point while I was perusing all of these informative and useful artcles, I remembered a glimmer "old me." Has anyone else had a similar experience? It's like, the older you get, the more personalities you collect, or something.

I remember being a quiet, shy, organized-to-a-fault little girl before going college, where I decided to reinvent myself. I didn't want to be a loner any more...I wanted to be more courageous...more the kind of girl who wasn't afraid to say how she felt or be friends with the "cool kids" or have the drive to go after the things I really wanted. And, sometime just before college, I realized that when I went to school, I would hardly know anyone there. Only a handful of people from my high school were going to the same college as me. I realized that people treat you the way you act and that if I acted like the girl I wanted to be, that they would treat me like her, and I would, in a way, become her. When I got to college, I didn't think about what I would do in a given situation, but what she would do. Maybe not so much what "she" would do, but I tried to think about what I wanted to do without worrying about what other people would think and what I would do if I weren't so painfully shy. Eventually, I became a very social, very outgoing person. I joined a sorority, went out with friends, and had lots and lots of fun. In addition to becoming more outgoing, I learned to not be so controlling and I learned to relax and not be so freakin' anal about stuff. I learned how to get along with people and be more easy-going. Things weren't as easy to control in group situations as they had been in my own little world before college...and I learned that this was ok.

But, more recently, I've also learned that "old me" wasn't so terrible as I thought she was. And, one thing I'd like to get back from who I used to be is the side of me who was so organized. I've gotten, dare I say, too lax in my lifestyle and with my home, which is slowly turning into the perfect candidate for the Clean Sweep team. So, starting this year, I'm going to work on getting organized and staying that way. I'm going to make a better effort to clean up after myself and put things back where they belong rather than leaving them laying (sp?) about. I want to be organized with my lifestyle too and stop procrastinating about that form I was supposed to mail in or that friend I was supposed to email. I'm tired of putting off until tomorrow what I can do today. I've noticed that I've been saying, "I don't have time" for this or that, but the truth is I do have time...I've just been doing something else. I was just reading about this whole "choosing" of time on someone else's blog recently, and for the life of me, I can't remember which blog...so if it's yours...shoot me a comment so others can read your story on this whole "choosing" of time - your post was great!

Anywho, wow, that post was waaaaay longer than I thought it would be so sorry for rambling on...I've been doing that a lot lately! Back to the New Year's stuff. I spent the first day of the New Year hitting up the organizational store. I spent a whole $100 - way more than I intended to spend - but I think I got some good stuff to get myself started on organizing. The truth is, I actually love to organize, but it's expensive and time-consuming! But, enough excuses! I've made money in my budget for organization goods for this month, at least. This is the year! I'm going to get organized, and I'm going to start with my kitchen:

Ok, ok, it doesn't look that different, but I couldn't resist the lid/baking pan holder (to the left) or the pan separator (to the right) - both on the top shelf of the photo. I would have put more baking pans in the pan holder, but the shelf is too short and not adjustable...it still holds the lids nicely, though. The pan separator is pretty cool, too, though, helping my non-stick pans to retain their non-stick surface - should be easier to get to them this way, too! See how the three pans and the one pot are separated so you don't have to unstack them to get to the bottom one in pink? Well, now you see why I started with the kichen...that was pretty easy.

Ugh...now to the craft room...that should be "fun"...lol

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Crochet Crazy in the Hizzy

I've caught the crochet fever...and I've got it bad. I have several projects going on right now (even some knitting projects, but I guess that's another story). Luckily, I finished one of my crochet today...woohoo! Thank goodness because it's supposed to be a Christmas present for a friend. Good thing she hasn't called yet about exchanging gifts!

I've been working on this scarf in bits and pieces. I knew I wanted to crochet something for a friend, but I was completely distracted by a few knit/crochet books I got for Christmas when I couldn't resist starting some projects from my new books. Needless to say, I'm like that girl who is reading about five books at one time. I guess I just like to multi-task...I dunno? Either way, I've been spreading my free time working a round here, a row here on my various projects.

Lately, I've been working on making more "me time" so I can work on some of these "for fun" projects. I've been trying to spend a couple hours cleaning/organizing and making sure to take a break to do something I want...even if it's just working a couple rows for one of my crochet patterns. It's been fun though, tidying up, and then curling up on the couch with some yummy hot cocoa I got from a local semi-gourmet store. It's Ghiradelli Hazelnut Hot Cocoa...and it's tasty!

So, I've spent some time over the past couple days relaxing on my cozy couch, watching some craft TV (which I don't usually get to see b/c they always put the good shows on while I'm at work) and making hoop after hoop with single crochets and double crochets (and even some triple crochets here and there). Even Bailey wanted to get in on the crochet action.

And, just in case you didn't believe me that I actually finished a project, here's a shot of the final product along with another scarf in the same pattern and my butterfly scarf. I can't wait to finish some more projects so I can share them with you!

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Tradition Lives On

Since my mom is from the Philippines and my dad is from the north, we don't have a lot of family living nearby (here in the south). Luckily, when I was young, or possibly even before I was born, my mom became good friends with a distant cousin of hers who also lived in the states, and our families began hanging out since I can remember. They lived in Canada, but would make long trips in their big van to visit us all the way down in Florida. They are a full-Filipino family (my Dad is American, so I guess that makes us "half") so it was really nice for my mom to have someone to talk to in her native language and someone to cook the familiar foods that they grew up eating. Not sure if you know any other Filipino people, but we like to eat...a lot. I mean, we really, really like to eat, so it was always a fun family foodfest whenever our two families got together.

Eventually, around the time I was in middle school, my cousins moved to Atlanta, GA, so we started taking trips to visit them (a few times a year). We would play video games all day and take trips to theme parks and water parks. It was the best...some of my favorite childhood memories were spent with my "distant" family. My cousins, especially the one my age, became like my brothers. We had the best fun just being kids together exploring those water parks, playing board games, and even playing their keyboard (my cousin was extremely into music and still is to this day...now he prefers to play guitar) to the pre-programmed sounds, like House of the Rising Sun and Hey Jude.

Every time we visited them in Georgia, we had this tradition that we would go to the Dim Sum restaurant for a goodbye lunch. We'd get there very early...before the restaurant was even open. You have to do that with the good Dim Sum restaurants because you will not get a table if you don't go early. Dim Sum is like a Chinese brunch with tapas-style, family-style food. It's much more authentic than many American-ized Chinese restaurants and it's absolutely delicious. Anywho, every time we went to Atlanta, we had to go to Dim Sum. We would get one of the big round tables they had for large families, we'd share food off of the huge lazy Susan in the middle of the table, and we'd eat and talk and eat and laugh and eat all afternoon. I have such fond memories of our Dim Sum outings, so when I found out there was a Dim Sum restaurant in my SO's hometown and that my SO's sister liked Dim Sum (it's not for everyone and not traditionally popular with Americans), I hoped that we would be able to go this past weekend and we did!

For anyone who's never had Dim Sum, here's how it works:

Check reviews or with locals to see if the Dim Sum restaurant is good (has a good reputation). If it does, you will need to get there up to an hour before they open. Get there at least 30 minutes early if you don't want to have to wait for a table to open up. People often will sit and eat all afternoon.

Once you get your table, the waiters and waitresses will push little carts around the room and stop by your table to show you all the yummy foods they have to offer you. Many times, they will not speak English, so you may have to choose your dishes by looks only. This picture features a cart with steamed foods. Inside these containers are a variety of delicious dumplings. You point at the ones you want, the waitress places your selection(s) on the table and marks your check. There are three parts of the check for the various dishes, which are priced by size: small (around $2.75), medium (around $3.75), and large (around $5-ish). They mark an X in the appropriate box(es), which will be tallied up when you check out.

In this picture, you can see some of the dishes we selected: sauteed brocollini, calamari, eggplant & green pepper, turnip cakes with pork, and steamed pork buns. Towards the back, my SO's sister is opening a grapeleaf package, which contains sticky rice with an egg, pork, and shrimp filling.

Same dishes as before except towards the front are some steamed shrimp dumplings...one of my favorites.

My plate...with a bite taken out of the steamed pork bun (another one of my favorites) so you can see the barbeque pork filling. It's not barbeque like you'd probably be familiar with, but it's a slightly sweet taste...trust me, it's good and one of the first Dim Sum I started eating as a too-picky-kid, so it would be a good one to start with.

Though it may not look like it, this is dessert - sesame balls. Balls of dough covered in sesame seeds, deep-fried, and with a yummy bean paste inside. The paste is sometimes yellow-ish, but the red bean paste is the best!

Overall, the Dim Sum was excellent! Just as good as I remember from my childhood. I had such a fun time chatting with my SO's sister and her husband and my SO. I had told my SO's sister about my family tradition with my cousins and she had a similar tradition with her friends growing up. So, as we were finishing our brunch, I was thrilled to hear her say, "Maybe we can start a new family tradition?" I quickly resp0nded, "I would love that. Let's do it!"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Like Me...You Really Like Me!

We went back to my SO's hometown this past weekend to see his sister as we had to work the day after Christmas and she wasn't coming to town till later in the week. I, of course, wanted to be there to see her open the quilt I made for her daughter. All during last week I built myself up for the worst case scenario. Not everyone likes, wants, or appreciates handmade stuff quite like the many talented people on the craft blog scene. I tried to prepare myself prior to the weekend that they may just open the box and say, "Hey, it's a blanket. Thanks." (note there's not exclamation in that quote). I did keep hope that they would love it...especially since my SO's sister is such a sweet & caring person overall. All my worries disappeared the moment they opened the quilt. As you can tell from this photo, she liked it! Phew!

See how it's all laid out on the ground like that? She did it all by her wee-little self. She opened the box with her mom, took the quilt, and carefully spread it out on the ground, bit by bit. Then, she sat right in the middle of the quilt and touched the various fabric pieces. So cute!

Then, she laid down on it and rolled around. Thank goodness she liked it! I usually like to keep the "first" of things I make (first quilt, first crocheted scarf, etc), but sometimes the better event is when you can give something so special of yours to someone else special and hope they can appreciate it as much as you would. I think we're good to go here, folks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Accidental Goodbye

Well, it's finally here...tomorrow is my last day on my uptown project. I've been working at the bank since Valentine's Day now...a relatively long project for a consultant, but with the end of the year comes the end of my assignment. I'm not sure if you've every consulted before (or maybe just job-hopped), but it's kinda weird going from project to project sometimes. If you stay long enough, explore your surroundings, and take the time to talk to people, you can get really, well, cozy. You make friends, find your favorite places to eat and places to shop.

I'll definitely miss the convenience of working uptown. There's a whole world out there hidden within those tall structures and behind high glass windows that you would never know about unless you worked in that environment. Tunnels and covered bridges span from building to building and you start creating paths that wind you in and out of buildings, unwittingly crossing several city blocks in one trip while you check out the little boutiques, shops, over-priced convenience stores, and cafes. It's kind of funny...walking down these long, over-crowded halls...there is just so much inside these buildings that you can't even see from the outside. From the outside, you think, hey, there's an office building. I guess bank people work there. Inside, the bank people are scurrying from their desk to grab some fast food, choosing from Einstein, Sbarro's, Chick-Fil-A, and Salsaritas all in one hallway, so they can scurry back to their desk and get back to work, all the while not caring one bit about what street they're technically on or what's going on outside.

Yes, they "scurry". You start to notice...there are the "scurriers", the "Sunday walkers", and the "loungers". I guess you can say I'm a scurrier (is that a word?) because I like to walk quickly. I get frustrated walking behing the slow "Sunday walkers" even when I'm not in a rush...isn't that silly? I get this feeling like if I don't get around the slow people I'll be stuck walking down that hall forever! Walking these uptown halls can be like driving down a multi-lane highway. You have to wait for a "lane" to open up to pass. Sometimes the halls are so full with people walking this way and that way that you just can't quite squeeze through, so you have to wait patiently taking slower-than-normal steps until you can make a move. Ahh...the silly quirks of a work environment. I guess I'll miss that whole everything-you-could-possibly-need-within-five-minutes-of-walking convenience.

I'll even miss our strangely efficient elevators. Instead of up/down buttons, like normal elevators, ours have a touch-screen panel where you choose your floor and the system tells you which elevator to take. You hit the button for the 7th floor, the panel directs you to elevator #4, you hop on elevator #4 and you're off and to your floor in a matter of seconds! No waiting for the floors below you (well, sometimes the system will couple them)...it's quite nice, actually. Not hard to get used to, but hard to get not-used to, if that makes sense. I went to my consultant company's office recently, pushed the up button outside the elevator, got on the elevator and stood there. Our elevators are extremely slow, so it took me a minute to realize that it had not gotten slower, but in fact, wasn't moving at all! Heehee...oopsie! Good thing no one saw that!

I'll miss the constant hustle and bustle around the trade floor. I'll even miss the super dressy dress code. (Button-down shirts and dress pants aren't that bad, afterall) And, I know I'll miss the people. Isn't it sad to say goodbye to people that you know you very well may never see again? I don't like "goodbyes" and I don't like "nevers." They're so finite. A good friend told me once that he always said "Later" to his friends instead of "Goodbye" because "Later" means he'll see them again and "Goodbye" is forever. I've tried to avoid the word "Goodbye" ever since and when I accidentally tell a friend "Goodbye", it makes me nervous...like, what if I never see them again? Sometimes, I'll even follow up the accidental "Goodbye" with a "Later"...you know...just for good measure.

I'll miss my comfy window seat with the great view of the sunset. Here's one I snapped yesterday. The sun was just peeking from behind a gigantic blue curtain of clouds and there was an amazing golden peach spreading through the sky.

I mean, how lucky, out of a building of thousands of people, am I to get a window seat? I was talking to a woman on my floor the other day about how I was leaving and she should try to take my seat when I go, since it's a good spot. She said she'd been asking for a window seat for years but hadn't gotten one yet. Years? What? The conversation made me want to go to my desk, pack it up, and hoard it somehow to keep it safe. What if my company sends me back? Where might they put me? Eek!

Today, I started packing my desk. That's the worst part of moving...whether it's jobs or houses. The packing up, the goodbyes or "laters" you share with friends, the finality of it all.

And yet, with an end comes a new beginning, right? I'm scared and curious and hopeful of where my company will send me next. I hope not too far, yet at the same time, I don't know if "far" wouldn't be good? You never know what's out there for you until you stumble upon it, you know? Cross your fingers it's somewhere good. Till next time...Later!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas-ing Around the South

It was Christmas-ing around the south for us this year as we visited both my parents and my SO's family for the holidays. We spent the weekend before Christmas with my family. My mom is a neonatal intensive care nurse, so she only gets every other Christmas off. I guess it works out well now that my SO and I are sharing the holidays between both our families. Only problem is, with so few days, you don't feel like you really get to spend good quality time with either family. Don't get me wrong, a couple days with each is precious time, but I love my long, lazy days hanging out with family and doing nothing but eating, resting, and whatever else I feel like. Maybe next year? Anywho, my parents loved their gifts - my mom loved the scarf I knit up for her! Yay!

At my family's house, we had a traditional turkey dinner, but with non-traditional table decor. Doesn't matter one bit to me...turquoise is my favorite color anyways!

Oh yea! Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, steamed veggies...yummy! We even had pumpkin pie and a delicious chocolate cake...mmm...

Last week, I was recounting all the Christmas presents I had hoped to make and came to the awful realization that I didn't have time to get them all done. EEK! I only had time to get a couple done. That was...I thought I had time to get a couple done, and then, the orders for D Celestine started pouring in out of no where! I had some online orders and even had a few custom orders to make with some local friends, which is always a blast, but no time for my homemade Christmas gifts. Luckily, I packed up my knitting supplies and all the yarns I had intended to use in my gifts and knitted up a storm all weekend, and Christmas Eve, and even Christmas Day to complete two (yes, two) more of those butterfly scarves. I finished the second one about an hour before we were supposed to head over to my SO's aunt's house for dinner. Did I mention I had offered to prepare a panettone bread pudding before we left? Phew! What a busy day Christmas was!? Everything came together in the end. The panettone bread pudding was very much enjoyed, and I gave the two butterfly scarves to my SO's two aunts and they LOVED them. Phew! My first major, handmade Christmas gifts were a hit! I've got to come up with something good for next year now!

I'm Loving This Quilt

Well, here it is...the day I thought would never get here. Mommy fiiiinally finished the pretty baby quilt and I have to say, I've thoroughly been enjoying it.

Wait...WHAT!? What do you mean I have to give it up?

Can't I keep it, mommy...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? You wouldn't say no to a face like this, would you?

Oh fine! Just take it! You better have some good treats for me leftover in that stocking, though! I'm just sayin...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Tunes & Binding

So, tonight was another step towards completing the baby quilt - my first try at binding. I've been avoiding blankets and quilting for awhile now because...well, I've been afraid. Afraid of the quilting...and especially afraid of the binding. I'm one of those people who visualize everything in my head and I couldn't quite wrap my thoughts around how the binding was supposed to work. I. just. couldn't. imagine. how. it. worked. I've been putting off binding projects like a 10 page research paper for school, but tonight, I said, "No more excuses" and dove right in.

I have to admit, while sometimes tedious, and definitely hard work, I'm very much enjoying this project...even though it's starting to get kinda fugly. Not overally fugly, but if you look at it closely and pick out all my mistakes...or if you're a quilt connoisseur, you'd probably deem my quilt unworthy. I made loops in my stipling (which I read you aren't supposed to do b/c the stiches aren't supposed to cross), my squares don't line up right, and when I squared my quilt off, I realized it was lop-sided and had to trim longer pieces of some sides making the border uneven. But, hey, it's the imperfections that make it handmade and therefore special...right?

Anywho, tonight, I turned on the Christmas radio stations, googled some binding tutorials online and pinned and sewed and pinned and sewed till the binding was all the way around on one side. Tomorrow night, I plan to finish the quilt...yay! I can't wait! Now, I just need to get some good hot cocoa so I can really get in the spirit!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If You Can Read This...

I'm not sure if everyone out there is as random as me (probably not, as that would be pretty hard to do), but I was driving to work, half-asleep, without any caffeine in my system, and the most random memory popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere. I'm sure I must have heard something on the radio that triggered my memory, but who ever knows? Alls I know is I suddenly remembered being 8-ish. My friend Dee-Dee (such an 80's name, no?) snuck into her big sister's room to snoop around. I don't remember much, but I remember posters (probably New Kids on the Block and Cindy Lauper), perfume bottles, lip glosses, nail polishes, cassettes, pastels...and a collection of buttons. I remember reading one...the text was so small, it was hard to make out. I squinted to read it, but the words made out eventually but sloooowwwwwly. "Iffffff you can read thisssss....you're stannnnnnnding too damn close." Oh my goodness! I thought. That button is mean...yet strangely funny. I think I loved it instantly, even though I knew it was wrong. At 8-ish, you think "bad words" are so terrible, no? I wonder what that says about me, finding that button so fascinating at what seems like such a young age? I wonder why that memory popped out of the blue to give me a quick giggle on my way to work? Perhaps my brain was pissed off at me for staying up so late working on that silly baby quilt. Why, oh why, did I decide to do stipling for my first quilt?

I guess I like a good challenge...and "challenge" it was, indeed. I must have started and stopped a dozen times...breaking string, sewing over the extra edges of my backing, pinched fabric...you know...all the newbie mistakes. Can you tell from the photo that I didn't really know what I was doing? Either way, I really wanted to finish the stipling for this quilt and made myself stay up until it was done. Phew...done it is...but now I have to do quilt binding for the first time...yikes! Luckily, there are some good tutorials out there! Tonight was dedicated to Christmas shopping for the SO...maybe tomorrow night I'll finish the quilt? Wish me luck...I think I'm going to need it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jewelry Party

I had a mini jewelry party at my house today. I was supposed to have it at a clubhouse, but thank goodness I was able to do it from the comfort of my home! I'm feeling much better, but I'm still pretty tired. I actually had to leave my company holiday party early last night! Waaa. Ok, enough whining...here are some photos from my party today:

Hmm...this appears much more cluttery than I thought it did earlier today. What can I say, but it's Murphy's law that the one item I leave put up will be the one thing someone wants, right?

I've actually been working a lot of de-cluttering my displays because I have a tendancy to put too many jewelry designs out, but I like having a good variety out.

I love this little art frame to display my earrings. I made this with a wood frame, some corkboard, some fabric and satin roping. It took a long time, but it was worth it.

When I first started my jewelry business, I said that I would never put anything on "sale". How long did that last? About a year or two...I did pretty good, but sometimes you just want to make room for pretty, new designs.

Anywho, we had snacks and stuff. Next time, when I'm feeling better, I want to have really nice, handmade snacks...even if I have to buy them from a local bakery. I want my guests to feel extra special!

Love these napkins!

Christmas, Ornaments, and Running Late

Christmas is a funny time of the year, isn't it? You can be running late and be completely early, all at the same time! For example, I was reading a magazine the other day, I think Ideal Home's Christmas edition, and it said that you were supposed to bring the Christmas tree in on Dec. 15th (hey, that's today!). Of course, I brought my tree in nearly a week ago. See? Early! But then, on the other hand, I don't really have any Christmas gifts ready yet, and I've been planning on making all of mine, though, I do need to head to the mall for my SO's gifts (can't make his), and I really don't want to deal with all the traffic. Between going to the mall and not having made all the presents I'm planning to make, I think I can safely say that I'm running late. Boo. Hey, at least the tree is looking good.

Isn't this tree skirt pretty? It's one of the Martha Stewart items I got from Kmart last weekend. It's a bit bunched up, but we couldn't chop off the bottom branches of the tree, since it's so short, so the skirt doesn't quite fit.

As for running late, perhaps I should have spent less time making ornaments and more time making gifts? Although, I have to say, I think my ornaments are looking mighty fine in the tree. Yea baby!