50 Things I Love About Blogging *

So yesterday was my 50th entry to my Blog. As a somewhat “Over The Hill” tribute, I would like to dedicate today’s post to confessing the 50 things I’ve come to love about blogging. It’s only been a few short months since I’ve taken on this personal challenge and while it’s had its definite shares of ups and downs, I’ve grown a tremendous amount in the process and I couldn’t be more grateful. To all of those who’ve witnessed what little triumphs I’ve made in the past 5 months, I thank you. You’re an inspiration in so many ways and I couldn’t have done this with out witnessing your pure and honest confessions to the world.

50 Things I Love About Blogging.jpg

Another announcement -or “confession”, if you will- is that I’ve decided to revamp my blog and take it in another direction. While I’ll still be blogging about the same old garbage, I have finally committed to purchasing a domain (About Time – I know.) and have realigned it with my personal business to keep things simple. While I still adore “Front Paige News” (because my daughter’s name is Paige), this domain was already occupied. I then considered the thought of losing out on www.TwineWithATwist.com as a domain (because it’s my side-business) and thought it no better time than the present to jump on it. Happy 50th Baby Blog: I got you a domain, facelift and some much-needed attention. Don’t worry, the chocolate covered strawberries are on the way! Maybe some day I’ll even upgrade my WordPress to a custom account. #BabySteps.

So in light of all the things learned since last November, I would like to compound those moments, lessons and memories into one small list: My 50 in 50. (These go in no particular order):

50 Things I love About Blogging:

  1. Patience – Your blog isn’t going to grow overnight. You learn to accept it, learn and listen.
  2. Connections – You meet the most amazing people in this tiny universe. It’s amazing and you will grow to love each and every person.
  3. Fear – You will attempt to conquer some of your biggest phobias. Then grow from them! It’s exhilarating, just wait.
  4. Grammar – I took a lot of english classes, had a minor in Language Arts and was an editor for 5 years. I’m still complete crap. The more you blog, the better you get!
  5. Design – You can make this space your own. It’s something I like to fiddle with time and again, it never gets old. Change it as you see fit, as often as you see fit.
  6. Capture – Take moments of your life and post them for the world to see, for you to see. It doesn’t matter, just make the most of your memories.
  7. Love – Finding that irreplaceable connection with your blog. It’s a place to escape when nothing else feels right. Write your world.
  8. Photography – Learn it. I have grown so much in this passion through the simple art of Blogging. Create that perfect accent to your word, a photo.
  9. Simplicity – Each post is its own. Don’t over think it. (I know I do!)
  10. Victory – Find triumph when you can. Each post, each goal, each milestone. Celebrate we will, cuz’ life is short but sweet for certain!
  11. Responsibility – You learn to face self-inflicted deadlines and personally accept the guilt that comes with failure (or even laziness). While nobody -but you- is betting against you, it can be stressful none the less. Don’t go too hard on yourself. . . It’s just a Blog!
  12. Creativity – You can spend an afternoon creating the perfect post, the perfect layout, the perfect photo. It’s engaging and addictive. It can also be completely freeing! Let your mind wander.
  13. Passion – You will find your passion. In this blog, in your life, in your writing. Embrace it. Love It. Learn it. Grow with it.
  14. Feedback – Cherish each comment. In the beginning it’s all that you have to not feel like you’re writing to a wall. These are the people who support you, big or small. It’s exciting!
  15. Support – Give it. Get it. You can change a persons entire day with one post, one comment. Blogging gives you an incredible network of people you’ll never meet otherwise. Embrace your connections.
  16. Publish – You can do it. When that initial post is too frightful to release on the world, just do it anyways. It took me 3 months to finally “click” the button. I’m so grateful that I did.
  17. Edit – Learn to love it. Re-read and over analyze. It might drive you crazy but each post is a work of art and I love going back and finding errors, it means I’m just as imperfect as I hoped I was.
  18. Voice – Finding your voice can be an upwards battle but it’s worth every moment. I can’t express how excited I am to continue on this path to finding what it is I can call my own.
  19. Link-Ups – Get in on the fun and find new friends. While I struggle to create my own “Link-Up”, I thoroughly enjoy the ones I take part in, like today’s “Humpday Confessions” with Kathy over at Vodka and Soda or Liz over on Fitness Blondie with “The Hump Day Blog Hop!“. Always look to grow your blog and join the party(ies) if you will!
  20. Humor – Embrace each Blog for the laughter that it can offer. Don’t be afraid to show your silly side and laugh. A lot. Often. At Yourself.
  21. Motivation – Blog It Up! While I struggle to find the words some days, I have never felt such a compelling effort to keep writing. . . a Blog is a baby, don’t toss it in a box outside your alley. #Seriously.
  22. Unique – Finding what it is you feel like publishing can be extremely fun/difficult. Rainboots? Sure. Write about them. Why the hell not? Be Yourself. . . It’s liberating.
  23. Privacy – Share when you’re ready. The best aspect to Blogging is the freedoms you’re given. You decide when -and if- you want to unveil your space to your (rather intimidating) personal world. For me, it’s about that time. I think it could be beneficial to conquering those final fears!
  24. Procrastination – I can if I want. Although I will admit, one of the most beneficial aspects to blogging could be the “make-believe urgency” to STOP being a slacker. If anything, you’ll overcome your lazy ways.
  25. Change – The adventures of Blogging will change you. Your voice will change, your writing will change, your formats will change. Don’t be afraid of it. The only thing constant is change.
  26. Read – You will read. A Lot. Each blog you follow will become like a short story that never ends. You will fall in love with some of them. Don’t compare, don’t judge. Accept and learn from each person you follow. . . they are inspiring in each their own.
  27. Comfort – Create a place all your own, your dream escape from everything. This is your space to be you, to be honest, to be challenged. It’s comforting to know you can always come back.
  28. Listen – In the past 5 months and I can honestly say that I’ve learned so much by simply listening to what others have to blog about, by listening to the experts, listening to your challenges, your victories, your daily dish. It’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth . . . .although it’s tough to argue when I blog with two hands?!
  29. Believe – Dare to be great. Aspire to be the next best “________”. It’s up to you. Nobody else. Don’t ever give up on your Blog, it’s a small extension of yourself. Treat it as such.
  30. Gratitude – Be courteous to those who appreciate your words and never forget to show thanks to those who’ve touched you! I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been truly thankful in this process and it’s quite amazing, it never ends!
  31. Perfection – Give it up! It doesn’t exist and you don’t need it. If there is one thing that Blogging had taught me, it’s that not any one post is better than another. Blog from your heart and your imperfections will glow with honesty. It’s your best attribute.
  32. Preparation- Blogging has taught me to plan ahead. While I mostly write by the seat of my pants, it’s given me a better idea on how to implement an idea and prepare for its path. It can be difficult but it’s benefits are endless, in life and in Blogging.
  33. Help – Ask for it. As often as you see fit. Blogging has taught me to ask for help. Lots of it. While I may work in Social Media, I do NOT know it all. I have so much to learn and I’m not afraid to ask the pros, you shouldn’t be either.
  34. Ambition – Get some! While I’ve always thought of myself as a somewhat ambitious individual, it wasn’t until I started this blog that I became aware of all my own possibilities. I’m a rockstar, so are you. Act like it.
  35. Code – Learn it. While I have a very limited knowledge on the backside of web design, Blogging has taught me some of the bare minimums that I would have otherwise neglected. It feels great to successfully pull off a little bit of coding, even if it’s just HTML!
  36. Discover – Never stop exploring. Blogging has opened so many doors for me. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the avenues this adventure has led me down.
  37. Labels – Label Yourself. Don’t be a pansy about it either. It helps to better express yourself and let others around you know what you’re about. I enjoy the honesty that comes from admitting both my character defects and my admiral qualities. . . . and finish your “About Me”!
  38. Giveaways – I damn well LOVE giveaways. I enjoy the traffic they create. As a Social Media Manager, I can honestly say that giveaways are the one small similarity I’ve found in my personal blog space and my daily profession. While I suck at throwing them – I have no idea what I’m doing – I enjoy witnessing another’s successful contest. I don’t mind participating either!
  39. Honesty – Let go of your reservations. Blogging is one of the best ways to get honest with yourself . . . and others.
  40. Accountability – The feeling that you get from contributing to something is indescribable. Feeling needed is a natural desire for anyone. . . . this space can give you that and it’s wonderful.
  41. Variety – The Blogging world is endless. The variation you can get from one feed alone is so intriguing. Engine Rebuilds, Quilting, Sugar Free Donut Recipes? It’s all here. Never stop expanding your path to knowledge.
  42. Reality – Whether it’s indescribably sad or overwhelmingly happy, every Blog has the ability to open your eyes to the incredible world we live in. I can’t imagine a better way to relate to people then through pure emotion.
  43. Security – Knowing that at any moment your world could come crashing down and the people you meet through your Blog will be there for you, and you for them.
  44. Humility – Accepting yourself for all of your faults. Overcoming them. Laughing at them. Blogging about them. Laughing at them again. A truly honest blog will accept you for all your defects.
  45. Experiment – It’s your space, do what you will. If you’re looking to take a chance this is the perfect place! Take feedback with a grain of salt and learn to find consistency with time…I have only just begun!
  46. Community – Build your own. What’s more fantastic than your very own niche? While I’m far from finding my very own space, it’s refreshing to know that I’ll someday find my own personal neighborhood.
  47. Forget – It happens. Don’t get down on yourself if you take a day off. . . . I’ve taken 4 or 5. Sometimes it’s exactly what the doctor ordered. Appreciate the down time. Come back refreshed. It can prove to be a positive.
  48. Report – Find news, advice, tips and to-do’s that mean something to you, that mean something to your followers. Report it. Hell, make your own. Share your world and wisdom with others -I find this incredibly fun and always learn something about myself in the process.
  49. Finish – Don’t. Always find something to keep you coming back. While I can honestly admit that some of my favorite moments have been when I finally put the keyboard down, the fresh idea of another post is what keeps me coming back.
  50. Faith – Have it. In Yourself. In your Blog. Don’t for one minute think you’re not capable. Faith is taking the first step, even when you can’t see the whole staircase. #MyBlog.

If you actually read all this, god bless you. I don’t know why I didn’t start this days ago. Regardless, I couldn’t be happier!

If you get a chance, check out today’s link-ups (listed above/below) and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!!

 

Cheers, 

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She’s Not Dead Yet. *

So yesterday, I received an unfortunate text from my mother that my father and her had decided they were going to be puting our Pug, Bailee to rest. This text came in at approximately 1:00 pm. I was at my desk, surrounded by coworkers. . . It wasn’t the most appropriate environment to be receiving this news, but since I lack the ability to produce tears at a moment’s notice, I survived the initial reaction. I couldn’t decide if I was more upset that Bailee was indeed going to be leaving this earth, or that my mother felt it was appropriate to inform me of this life altering (literally) decision via. text message.

RIP pug art

Source

– By The Way This Artist’s Stuff on Amazon is Adorbs- May Actually Purchase This Pug Pic As A Gift For My Mom! ♥

Now don’t get me wrong, I know what my mother was thinking. I’m at work, she doesn’t want to bother me. Not to mention she was probably a mess herself as Bailee was always considered “Her” dog and didn’t feel much like talking about it. I totally get all of this. But I was more confused as to why I was JUST now hearing about this, why nobody thought to clue me in that the Pug was doing that horrible, that this was all of a sudden the clear and present option!? Granted, I haven’t lived in their house since 2004, but still!! Regardless of my confusion, this was happening. I was of course upset but I knew that this decision would be best for Bailee. A little background: Bailee is 13 (or 14? Not entirely sure) and she’s been suffering from congestive heart failure for a while now. They prescribed her Lasix a while back and while this helped in the short-term, it was never a solution. With that in mind, my parents made the difficult decision to have Bailee put to sleep and I know that she’s in a far better place today.

Now keeping in mind that I received this text from my mother at around 1:00 pm and that this text said they would be having Bailee put down that afternoon, I figured this was only a few hours away. Vets typically run house calls in a 9-5 timeframe right? Wrong. Upon departing work (around 6:00 pm), I decided to post a heartfelt and slightly humorous Facebook message in Bailee’s memory. I found the cutest photo I could find (trust me there aren’t many – she had an incident 4 days after she was brought home which landed her at the vet with hot-pink “FrankenPug” stitches and a lifetime of crooked vision) and made a post that I felt was best suited for Bailee’s wistful departure. . . . 

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That was until I realized that I’m posting a morbid obituary for our still suffering and very much alive, dog. #Shit. After which, hilarity ensued. Was I embarrassed? No. Did I feel a little guilty? No, I felt more like an ass. Was I laughing out loud as I read my mother’s reply in the parking lot of my office? Absolutely. The upside: I found myself able to rush home and FaceTime Bailee one last time. It was comforting to let Paige say goodbye in her own innocent and unknowing way while also saying farewell to a dog I’d known half my life. . . While this overall hasty decision prevented us from any decent and in-person farewell, Steve Jobs made the most of our time together by supplying a little “Apple Care” and gave us one last memorable moment.

Later on, the evening was flooded with a number of comments ranging anywhere from thoughtful memories, to “LMAO @Chelsea” comments. While Bailee was always the brunt of many a joke, it was only appropriate that I took the cake on her final day. . . .  I couldn’t have planned a better or more ass-clowned way for the Pug to go out. It was humor at its finest and I’m glad, if anything, it made my mother laugh in light of an awful afternoon. I love you Bailee! Keep living that “Thug Pug Life” and say hello to Cosmo, Yoda, the Birds, Flush and all 1,3465 hamsters we never needed for me! Xo.

Cheers!

– C

Love Is . . . *

In honor of today, I wanted to take a moment to quickly express some of the things that I love. I should probably start by stating that I don’t believe in “V-Day”. I think it’s absolutely absurd to dedicate a sufficient amount of love into just one day. Love is something that should be given daily, hourly. It’s what keeps us alive, patient, personal and imperfect as people. To love is to be honest. Honest is what I would like to be today, and every day. Honest and in love. 

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If anything, today is about being in love. Maybe it’s not a person, to many it doesn’t have to be! We glamorize this day as a reason to celebrate intimacy and affection, to share it with another person. Why? Why not just celebrate everything we love?  I feel if I’m going to celebrate this day, I will celebrate all aspects of love and today I’m lucky in love in plenty of ways. . . . 

*Keep In Mind This Is My Personal List – No Matter HOW Silly or Stupid. #Love

  • My Daughter’s Laugh
  • Sunsets
  • The Game of Golf
  • Netflix 
  • My Husband’s Smile
  • Michigan Summers
  • Walks To The Park
  • Boating
  • Girls Nights
  • My Mom’s Ability To Find The Good In Everything
  • Football On Sundays
  • Bottomless Mimosas
  • Traveling 
  • Our Dog Baxter (When he isn’t sleeping in the closet)
  • Baby Humans
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fall EVERYTHING
  • Chai Tea Frappuccinos
  • My Husband’s Sense Of Humor (& Mine- & How Well They Work Together)
  • Christmas 
  • Skiing 
  • Looking At Stars
  • Country Music
  • Friends
  • My Late Uncle’s Apartment @ 96th & Lexington.
  • My Camera
  • My Hunters
  • Scarves
  • Family
  • My Northface Pants
  • White Peach Sangria at Applebees
  • Spin-Dip
  • Riding Boots
  • Red’s Cider
  • Myself (Just Saying)
  • Crafting
  • My Wedding Band – My Late Grandma’s Diamonds
  • New York City
  • Deep Fried Cauliflower
  • Paige’s Closet
  • Pop Rocks
  • Fresh Manicures
  • Baseball Games @ The Park
  • The Beach
  • My Daughter’s Voice 
  • Cold Stone Birthday Cake Remix
  • New Socks
  • The Dominican
  • High Heels
  • Haircuts & Color
  • Crab Legs
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Hugs

While I have SO many other things I love (this blog could literally go on forever), I just wanted to make the point that today isn’t about WHO you spend it with, but how you spend it. Spend today being thankful for what you have in your life, what you love. Because don’t “They” always say it’s the little things? Love today, everyday, and every little moment that matters, but most importantly; #Love Yourself. 

What Do You Love?

Cheers!

– C

Free Valentine Prints! *

So typically I’m not a huge fan of “V-day”. To be honest, all I’ve ever hoped for was an excuse to get my hands on some chocolate covered strawberries. . . . like seriously. As if I couldn’t eat them any other day of the year, V-day is an excuse to eat not only 3 or 4, but a dozen. All at once. #NoShame. Hell I don’t even care for the fancy ones, I’ll make them myself. Just buy me some Dolci Frutta and I’ll dip those babies myself. . . . damn, then I can eat a whole pint of berries! You think I’m lying? Ask my husband (or anyone that lived with me in college), shit’s not even normal.

Anyhow, in honor of the people that DO care about such a worthless Hallmark Holiday, I’ve decided to provide you all with some free prints for the special occasion. A “V-day” gift from me to you- I typically sell prints on my Etsy Page but in honor of such a stupid romantic holiday, I decided to “share the love” so feel free to print these little monsters out and decorate the shit out of your homes. #ThankMeLater.

FREE V-day Prints

All of these prints are placed on a chalkboard backdrop for that rustic, charming feel I know you’re all going for. . . Or at least I was, when I made them. If you hate them, I’m sorry. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until “V-Day” 2015 for my next installment of love. But seriously, LIKE THEM!

Love - Chalk 8x10Click To Download:

https://app.box.com/s/s7r6n01fdrkdxzl2em6s

I Love You - Free V-day Print - 8x10

Click To Download:

https://app.box.com/s/4f5amo69bfjmtf7vz119

Love You Always - Chalk 8x10

Click To Download:

https://app.box.com/s/pq7qk4uibogxn4em1g2u

XO Chalk - 8x10

Click To Download:

https://app.box.com/s/vwtw6g7p7ko3s6cvgbb8

So there’s that. The most mushy little prints I could possibly think up for your printable pleasure. Please don’t say I never gave you anything. Happy Monday! XoXo. 

Cheers!

– C

Crafty Canvas Covers *

Since I went Mrs. Clean on my house 2 weeks ago and organized each and every crevice; my usual chores have been few and far between. With all this new time on my hands I’ve of course come across a few “projects” to tackle and I’ve decided to fill you in on my latest!

Canvas Creations

This project was not only incredibly affordable but was a total piece of cake! I have been trying to decide what I can do with all these extra pieces of fabric lying around and after a totally failed attempt at trying to attach scrapbook paper to canvas, I decided to repurpose the fabric in a somewhat similar fashion. I’ve seen the idea around and have heard of friends doing similar projects but couldn’t find a “How-Two” anywhere so I decided to tackle this on my own, didn’t seem too difficult! 

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The Items I used I already had or picked up on random outings to the craft store here and there. The letter P I planned on using for another project but figured I could use it more effectively on something like this. Plus, I can always pick another one up. The Flower I just saw in a clearance bin at Michael’s one day and thought it would look cute. I grab weird things all the time and never know what I’ll use them for, until I do!

Anyhow, here are the items I pulled together for this project. . . . 

Supplies

  • 4 Canvas Boards (Whichever size you prefer, I chose the small 4 pack they offer at the craft store)
  • Random fabrics (best if you can find a color scheme or something to pull together)
  • Staple Gun (+ Staples)
  • Hot Glue Gun ( + Glue Sticks)
  • One Wooden Letter
  • One Large Flower Accent

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The accents are totally optional and you can of course add whatever you would like to spice this party up, I just personally went with what I already had. Or you can even just leave them blank, whatever blows your skirt up. 

So lets get on with these fool proof steps so you bitches can all go on with your day . . . .

Directions:

Step 1: Grab one of the fabric remnants you want to utilize and make sure it’s ironed flat. Lay one of the canvas squares on top and cut roughly 2-3 inches around each edge.

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Step 2: Take the bottom and top edges and fold them over the back side of the canvas. Make sure to pull them tight and begin stapling along the wooden frame. 

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Step 3: Once complete, work on the left and right edges and do the same. Fold each edge as if you were wrapping a christmas gift. This part is a little difficult (especially for men – if any men are ACTUALLY reading this right now- but seriously, what is wrong with you, why can’t you comprehend folding paper around a box?? It’s mind boggling. We all know you could make the best paper airplanes in 2nd grade. Stop pretending you’re so awful. ) but if you make sure to really tighten up the fabric, you’ll be all set. 

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Ok, so this first one might not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen but hey, I’m totally winging this! Plus, it’s the back of the canvas, who cares! My second one went MUCH smoother. I found it easier to staple the inside fold then the outer fold. More staples but a cleaner look. It’s up to you! 

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Once you’re finished you should have a smooth, clean and pretty little fabric covered canvas. Once finished with all four you’re ready to decorate! As you can see below, the first one is clearly the “demo”. I got a hang of it by the second, third and fourth. #ThankGod.

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Step 4: Grab your wooden letter and start painting. (That is, IF you are painting said letter. You may want to leave it black or white or even wood, whichever it came in to begin with. I was stuck with black and was going for Pink so I had to bust out my paint collection! )

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If you don’t already know, paint is typically wet for a while (Yes I just said that, you never know who’s reading) so lay your letter aside afterwards allowing time to dry. I use the cheap acrylic paints that take rarely more then 30 minutes to dry. If it helps, you may want to use a primer on black letters too (if that’s what you ended up with), as it didn’t cover with one coat. 

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Step Five: Get to glueing! Make sure to heat up your hot glue gun and add whichever little details your heart desires. First, I glued the flower on. I had to remove a bit of hardware from the back before attempting to attach but it went on with no major issues. 

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Next came the Letter P. I literally drenched the back of this thing in glue as I was afraid it wouldn’t stick. It stuck just fine, no worries here!! 

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TADA!  There you have it, you’re done already. I hope it went as seamless for you as it did for me, this project really was a synch! Not to mention it’s adorable. Now I just have to decide whether to hang it in my Daughter’s room (Paige) or my new and colorful craft room! -Which I will totally blog about later, I’m in love with how it’s coming along!!) 

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So there you go, another project down in the books, another post to finally blog. I’m almost as proud that I’ve completed another post as I am that I completed the craft at hand. #TrueStory. I hope you enjoyed the project and that it’s something you yourself can re-create! Feel free to share your results and let me know, are there any projects you yourself have recently attempted?? 

Cheers!

– C

An Exciting Tuesday (Who Knew Right?) – {Sh*t Men Say Link-Up #1}*

So today I just wanted to re-fill (not your soda) you in on this amazing friend of mine (who I know I’ve already mentioned but I adore her posts) who has shown me what it is to Blog. I have like 2 followers and she’s averaging like 50+ comments per post. I Love it. She’s so inspiring and her Blog, Voyage of the MeeMee, is non-stop laughter. She just writes about whatever and literally speaks through her words. I can hear her voice in every post and it’s exactly what a great Blog should be.

Today I just wanted to take the time to write a short post about this new Link-Up she’s doing with her pal Danae at Duh Danae, on Sh*t Men Say. It’s honestly going to be priceless and while I have a first hand knowledge of the weird shit Amanda’s BF says, I can hardly wait to read what the rest of the web’s men are saying. It’s going to probably become one of my top favorite posts each month. So PLEASE head over to their Blogs and check this shit out, it’s gonna make you laugh. #Obviously. Oh and be sure to tweet some of your men’s thoughts with the hashtag, #shitmensay and tag Amanda and Danae in your thoughts as I’m sure they would love to follow!! 

Also, join the Link-Up on their posts. I have NO idea how to do it (I’m attempting right now) so I can’t offer much assistance but I’m pretty sure I’ll figure it out. #AmanadaHELPME Bahaha. I will however close this small post by sharing a few awkward and verbal moments that I’ve spent with my husband in hopes they can use it as food for thought. . . . 

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Oh, and I haven’t even gotten started on his #Twitter. He lives on that. Regardless, it’s just a fact that men say some incredibly awkward things. My most recent favorite was when I returned home this past Sunday evening to find him sitting on the couch watching Netflix. . . I sat down and asked what we were watching to which he replied, “Watching a documentary on killer whales, you know, the one we’ve talked about watching.” Mind you, we have NEVER discussed this before- watching said show, or have even uttered the words “Killer Whale” to one another in our 5 years together as co-workers or co-people. I was so amused at this reply that I couldn’t fight back the laughter. He’s just something else! So in closing, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out the Sh*t Men Say Link-Up by these girls, it’s gonna be GREAT! 

Happy Tuesday Bitches! 

Cheers!

– C

Holiday Snapshots! *

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*Cookies – Santa- Christmas – Gifts – Bows – Laughing – Snuggles – Milk – Santa – Family – Love – Wrapping – Tree – Smiles – Food – Gingerbread – Frosting – Fun – Hope*

“Maybe Christmas He Thought Doesn’t Come From A Store. Maybe Christmas Perhaps Means A Little Bit More.” 

– The Grinch

Cheers!

– C

Gifts for the Girls *

So this holiday season has been a bit of a stretch on the wallet. With tying the knot in May, 8 weddings to finish the 2013 season, 30+ Bach/Bachelorette & Showers, a remodeled kitchen and the significant setback of placing our daughter in Montessori, it’s been one hell of a year! Simply put, we are broke! And no, we aren’t eating Ramen every night but I’m not out buying myself the latest Prada either. (AS IF I ever was before!) HA. We are getting by for now but this process has definitely got me thinking outside the box….. But through my obsession with Pinterest, Etsy and my ability to think up a craft over a simple cup of tea, I’ve decided that this year my best girlfriends are getting a simple yet personal gift of my choosing!

Along with the help of some simple computer skills, (and trust me when I say simple) a little patience for downloading some outrageously fun fonts, and a Costco Membership I have come up with the idea to create a chalkboard poster with out all the excessive chalk paint and additional expenses! As I am a HUGE fan of the rustic/vintage themes lately. *Our entire wedding was rustic everything. . . . I have compromised authentic with creative and come up with a thoughtful gift I hope they will truly enjoy. 

obligated to love what i made you

You see, my two best friends, Heather & Rachel ( & Dual Maid of Honors),  just recently moved in together. Roommates since college, I sometimes still pine for the days we could watch One Tree Hill and eat movie theatre popcorn in between classes. (Yes Heather would literally stop at the movie theatre on her way home just to purchase a large popcorn. . . . No she wasn’t high.) No responsibilities and zero motivation, it was a magical time. To be honest I can’t say I even watched any of their shows. . . I was never much of a TV person growing up but I loved to sit in the room and interrupt the most important points in each episode. . . . I’m sure anyone that knows me is not in any way shocked by this. In all actuality, I was a late bloomer when it came to watching addictive television. It hit me around age 25 when I was on maternity leave, right about the time when everyone on planet earth had placed the shows I was just starting in the category of “that’s so last decade”. . . . due to a little bug I caught called NetFlix. I mean honestly, have you people ever tried to watch just ONE episode of Grey’s Anatomy on that thing, OR Gossip Girl for that matter?? It’s like one episode just rolls right into the other, it’s impossible to get off the train. A whole new world for me. . . or a lack there of. I’m not entirely sure.

Regardless, Once we graduated we all went our separate ways. Heather moved off to San Diego after college and Rachel stayed at home in Rochester pursuing careers in the automotive arena. I stuck out the introduction of this Great Recession in the bar for another year following graduation only to land myself a marketing career in the greater Detroit area where I met my husband and began my life as it is today. While we grew in distance we grew closer as friends. . . .With my wedding on the way, Heather was spending an awful lot of time and $$money$$ flying back and forth for the special occasion. A Mitten Lover at heart, Heather made the decision to make her move back home just after my nuptials. It was the greatest of news and I like to think my wedding made this happen! 3 years on the West Coast was FAR too long for me and Rachel to go with out. After some last minute moves, the girls settled into their house in Royal Oak and we’ve been making an effort to spend more time together ever since. 

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Rachel – Me – Heather

When Heather first moved home, we hoped to make her transition as easy as possible. We knew she was giving up an awful lot back in California to come here and while we wanted to jump up and down in excitement, we in no way wanted to diminish what she may be experiencing as she left her friends and career behind. This Christmas gift was actually inspired from the initial gift I gave Heather when she moved home. As a way of making her move a little lighter, I printed a Subway Art poster for her of all the most important places in San Diego. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 4.33.46 PM

After a lot of thought and creative digging, I came up with the idea to create a chalkboard design with a framed, finished feeling. I started by searching for the perfect backdrop. . . .Google. It’s as simple as that. I typed in “Chalk Board Back Drop” and tada! A thousand options. My advice is to look at the pixels and measurements and look for the largest option photo possible as this wont blur or distort when you go to stretch as a background. Below is my favorite option. It has a little dusty finish, a truly authentic feel:

chalk-background.jpg

Now me personally, I’m an Apple girl at ♥. I have the obvious experience with Office as I think it’s somewhat essential in this day and age but with a Graphic Artist for a father, we never owned a PC a day in our lives. I’d like to keep it that way. While I have recently acquired the entire Adobe Suite, I have yet to really master it. . . . so this little project will be put together in Pages. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it can be easily done in Word as well. To start I chose a 16”x 20″ page setting and stretched this fantastic chalkboard to reach each edge. (Adjust your margins to 0″.) I decided on a 16″x20″ layout because I will be printing these off at Costco. For the amazing price of $5.99 you can print a 16’x20″ photo on a lustre finish that’s the perfect touch for any piece of framed art. Not too matted but just enough shine, it’s a fantastic service and I LOVE the Costco Photo Center. So fast and always spot on!  

Once the background was in place, it’s just a matter of creating your own design. I stuck with a similar layout for each girl but substituted fonts and words in each piece of work. Next, I downloaded SO many FREE Fonts from a variety of sites. You can google Free Font sites but from personal experience, I recommend getting on Pinterest and searching “free fonts”. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. I found so many fun fonts, especially for a chalky feel. I must have spent 2 hours just downloading fonts. . . . This was by far the most time consuming portion of this project. (By the way you in NO way have to spend that much time or download as many fonts as I did. I just couldn’t help myself. . . I’m a freak like that!) Make sure to check out my pinned fonts here. Also, some of my favorite Chalkboard Fonts I found on the fantastic blog: The36thAvenue.com . She had some Excellent Fonts that I used in this project.

*Some of my personal font favorites are: Return To Sender, Scribble Box, Dirty Cursive, and Chalk Line Outline. I also love the font Broken Hearts for cutesy little heart images that can really accent a project! ( I do a lot of prints for weddings so this in turn is a GREAT font for me.). 

After I decided on fonts and what not (obviously the most important part of this post!!), I simply would insert a text box for each word I wanted to use to describe the girls. I would resize each box to fit the desired space, use a multitude of type sizes, fonts, etc. and then finish it off by making each word White as to appear the color of chalk on a board. . . . the finished product turned out a little something like this!

Heather's Chalkboard Poster

!!AHHHH!! 

Rachel's Chalkboard Poster

I can’t express how excited I am to get these printed! I think they turned out so fantastic and can hardly wait to find the perfect white frames to finish them off. Upon finishing such a project I can honestly say that my imagination is running absolutely wild. I can’t stop thinking of the next best print I can come up with! If you’ve had a chance to check out my Etsy site, you will see that I had previously designed some rustic prints for your special day but now that I’ve created this personal gift, I can’t wait to craft, craft, craft! Have you crafted any gifts this season?? IF so PLEASE Share!

*SideNote: Any recommendations on Netflix shows you have enjoyed? I am always looking for the next best show! (Even if it is 10 years ago!!) HaHa Thanks!! 🙂 

Cheers,

– C