Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review + my word for 2015


i feel really weird writing an end-of-the-year post, when 1. i didnt make yearly goals in january, 2. i totally bailed on my monthly themes in like april, and 3. i havent even blogged consistently for most of this year. but im going to do it anyway. 

because, whether i was willing to admit it at the time or not, 2013 was, basically, the worst year ever. if i could compare it to anything it would be 365 of alexanders terrible horrible no good very bad day in a row. 

and 2014 was very much not that. i mean, it started out looking like it was going to be that, but then it wasnt. 2014 turned out to actually be a HUGE year for the meyers family, it was a year of growth, a year of change, and a year of things in general not sucking so bad. and i dont know if it was the low, low, low expectations i had at the beginning of the year, but honestly i am blown away at how this year turned out. i was not expecting all this. and i am very, very thankful to be able to say that. 

i thought about writing a long, emotional post chronicling the challenges we started the year with and how things have changed, but for both yours and my sakes, im going to keep this upbeat and positive by sticking to a list of our accomplishments. because im pretty pumped about what weve done this year, and i want to start 2015 pumped about whats coming next, not being all weepy and nostalgic over how bad things used to be. because nobody wants to read about that. heck, i dont even want to write about it. 

so on we go! awesome things about 2014!

james got a big promotion and worked full time for most of the year! now, promotions are supposed to be a regular, predictable thing with his apprenticeship program, but because of some weird scheduling hangups and having like no work at all for several months, his promotions got messed up, BUT i am now married to a level four carpenter and we are finally past the "this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better" part of him having this job. 

i went back to school! technically this was a decision i made in 2013, but my first classes started in march, and ive now completed FIVE of the classes toward my lifelong dream of a degree in fashion design (only eight more to go!) and i have aced ALL OF THEM! (unfortunately, due to really struggling with most of my important classes the first time i went to college, i probably wont get to graduate with honors. sad face.)

i quit working at joanns and am now legitimately self employed! every year since i was like, 18, ive said, and i quote: "THIS IS THE YEAR THAT I WILL BECOME LEGITIMATELY SELF EMPLOYED". and at 24, I FINALLY DID IT. though, in a surprising twist of fate, not through my own business ventures, but by becoming a jamberry consultant (which, by the way, i had sworn up and down in college that i would never, ever do direct sales again). 

alice turned three and is freakishly, terrifyingly intelligent. alice started this year as a very verbal and observant two year old, and over the course of the year has blossomed into a witty, logical, three year old that can make recognizable objective drawings and WRITE HER NAME. and she doesnt even have an easy to write name. in other news, we have unofficially started homeschooling. 

i did a craft fair (two, actually) and didnt quit the shop or blog at any point even when i wanted to! even though my sales werent great, and i did take a major, unexpected hiatus in the middle of the year (that was only really, really hard to climb out of), i kept the shop running for the entire year, prepped for and did my first craft fair in a looooong time (which meant i was totally ready when a surprise event came up thanksgiving weekend), and kept the etsy shop up and running for the entire year. same with this here blog. 

we still have money in our savings account! last year basically drained our entire savings, so when this years tax refund came, i had hoped and prayed wed be able to keep enough in savings to renew our disneyland passes in full and pay next years car insurance in full (i just like not having monthly bills if i can avoid them, ok?). now its december, and AFTER taking care of some major expenses, way upgrading the disney passes, getting through birthdays, christmas, and the slow months, and going on a real, actual vacation, there is still twice as much in there as i had originally hoped. 

james and i went on real, grown up dates! and a vacation! and not just fancy dinners at actual restaurants without a gift card or coupon, i mean the kinds of things I've always wanted to do but we never had money for, like a concert, and a comedy show. and did i mention our first real vacation after four years of marriage? 

i made some major investments in my business goals. even though running my own business has been a lifelong dream of mine, and over the last couple of years ive figured exactly what that business is, ive always been too afraid (or broke) to make the necessary investments to really get things going. but this year i said NO MORE to holding myself back and invested in: an overhaul on my craft fair set-up, business coaching, a tripod, AND a new macbook. 

so, as you can see, 2014 turned out to be an awesome year for the meyers family. but also, as is plainly obvious by reading back over this list, it was also and absolutely insane and all over the place kind of year. which, yeah, after all weve been through in previous years was exciting and refreshing, it was also exhausting. honestly i mainly wrote this post as a pep talk for myself to remind myself why i ended the year so tired and burnt out, and that it was because of totally awesome reasons. 

which brings us to 2015. more specifically, my goals for 2015. even more specifically, my "one little word" for guiding my goals for 2015. 

see, this time last year, i was too afraid to commit to one word for the entire year. we were very much in a temporary, short term, survival mindset and well, thats changed. one of the biggest developments this year was that weve been able to shift our gears from survival to long term planning. and this time, i have a word for 2015:

focus. 

2014 was the crazy, all over the place year where we tried a lot of different things and figured out what was really important. 

2015 is the year that we zero in on those important things and make some serious progress in those areas. 

2015 is the year of focus. 

focus on what exactly? well, youll just have to stay tuned for my 2015 goals series to find out!

do you have a word for 2015? let me know what it is in the comments!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

a very meyers christmas.

christmas of 2014 could go down as "the christmas that tried really, really hard but kind of fizzled out", "the christmas that james beat everyone at gifts", or maybe even "the christmas that involved a lot of crying but turned out ok in the end". 

but i think the official title for this year is "the christmas of which we have almost zero pictures". 

see, not only did james work a lot this week (which has not only never happened since he's had this job but also included a million hour day on christmas eve), we also spent our entire christmas holiday dying of the bubonic plague (ok slight exaggeration). so, heres a shot from our christmas card session that you can pretend is a picture of us during christmas festivities:



the irony of this all is that, earlier this year, james decided it would be a good idea to majorly scale back our usual christmas-related obligations and endeavors. you know, so that we could finally take some time to have "our" christmas, and to make things less stressful and easier on his severely introverted wife that typically spends christmas time having nervous breakdowns and panic attacks. obviously being the primary beneficiary of this decision (and having finals totally wreck the christmas spirit for me), i wholeheartedly agreed and we went about our merry way. 

not that christmas was by any means cancelled, i mean, we obviously did gifts and a tree since this was the first christmas EVER that weve had any money for christmas type things, and participated in most of the things we were invited to, we just... kind of ignored christmas until two weeks prior, didnt bother pulling out any decorations, didnt bring anything homemade to any parties, and opted out of christmas eve in san diego. 

at first, the decrease in pressure and expectations was awesome as we lazily prepared for a totally chill holiday. james has been warned that work would be slammed the week before/week of christmas, but it turns out he was home for the entirety of last week and not only helped me with alice/chores/christmassy things, he also took care of a bunch of things that were wrong with my car. everything was pretty awesome. 

until we all got sick. not just slightly sick, like, a really icky cold/flu thing thats still kind of lingering despite my best efforts (yes, by that i mean a combination of essential oils AND normal medicine). all three of us. and in a cruel twist of fate of course i got hit worst/last. meaning, every single christmas prep thing i had been procrastinating on (and by that i mean, all of them) while being unable to breathe/stand for more than 10 minutes without feeling like i was going to pass out. for some reason i thought it was a GREAT idea to go run the last christmas errands in this state by myself resulting in such gems as loosing the bag with all of alices stocking stuffers at target and almost crying in ralphs because they didnt have the gluten free cinnamon rolls that im pretty sure i havent seen at any other store than ralphs. 

then james had to work on christmas eve. now, in all fairness, we had been warned that this would probably happen. and we did plan on not going to san diego just in case this issue actually did arise. but we didnt actually think it was going to happen, let alone with a million hour day at a really far away job. so christmas eve not only involved making food and wrapping gifts (actually, also making one of my cousins gifts right before we left) and getting alice over to my aunts house for dinner while being barely alive, it involved doing all of those things alone. which in all honesty was incredibly difficult but totally worth it. christmas eve dinner was great. christmas eve crying because i realized alices stocking stuff was missing and jamess christmas gift had STILL not arrived (curse you two-day shipping from sephora that actually takes four days!) was not so great. 

but eventually i composed myself, eschewing stockings in favor of just taping some candy on alices other presents, and jamess gift miraculously arrived somewhere just before 10pm. everybody went to sleep at a mostly decent hour and christmas day was just as awesomely lazy as we had originally hoped. 

we slept in, opened presents, ate pancakes, put on some dr who, and i went back to sleep until about noon. then my mom and sister started asking when we were coming over, and i had to um... make my sisters entire gift and wrap everything else up before we went to my moms for more presents, prime rib dinner, and the dr who christmas special (ok, that was just for me, james, and my brother, but still). sickness aside, it was everything i could have asked for in a christmas. 

especially the part where james got me a beautiful new desk and for the first time EVER i have a functional place to write, sew, AND draw!!! this was a total surprise, because 1. james had already gotten me the new food processor i asked for as an "early" gift, and 2. i didnt even ask for a new desk, he thought of that all on his own. and nailed it. 

was this the best, brightest, most impressive, photogenic christmas ever? no. but was it a perfectly delightful, very, very meyers christmas? yes, yes it was. 

what did your family do for christmas? got any fun plans for new years eve? 


Friday, December 19, 2014

how to DIY last-minute christmas cards for under $10.



who here is a mega christmas procrastinator? oh come on, i know it cant be just me. 

well, funny story: as bad at christmas (and everything) related procrastinating as i usually am, taking way too many classes this last semester (more on that later) has made things about 9000 times worse. its december 19th. i am addressing and mailing our christmas cards as we speak (well, as you read this, since this the internet and all). 

but im damn proud of these christmas cards. yeah theyre maybe a teeny little bit late (but realistically were going to see approximately 90% of our intended recipients in real life before christmas). but they are not one teeny little bit half-assed. actually, theyre awesome, 100% DIY, and cost us less than $10. 

yes, you read that correctly. ten dollars. yes, that includes envelopes. yes, you can totally do the exact same thing right now and have spiffy new christmas cards in a couple hours. actually, writing this tutorial is taking way longer than actually making these cards did. just saying. 

so, ready to make some some legit-looking fast and easy christmas cards? lets go!

1. snap a family picture (or a few). bonus points if you already have a decent photo from earlier in the year. this was actually the most labor intensive step for us because despite my super simple minimalist christmas card concept, james really wanted to take our family picture at disneyland. so while your process might enjoy digging something from your hard drive or having a friend snap a photo at the park, ours involved lugging the tripod and DSLR and toddler that was not having anything to do with this nonsense through disneyland and having everyone stare at us while we took pictures with a timer. i can guarantee that as long as you dont do that this step is super easy. 

2. turn it into a christmas card-worthy graphic. depending on your style, you can VERY easily (even if you have zero design skills like me), slap a simple greeting onto a photo (or collage if youre feeling ambitious) using an app like a beautiful mess or a site like picmonkey. i like a beautiful mess because there arent a ton of options and theyre all curated to coordinate so its really, really hard to make something that looks bad. 

3. print your graphic at target. or walmart, or an office store, or wherever on-demand photo prints are sold. 4x6 prints are going to be the cheapest (i got mine at target for 13 cents each), so make sure you optimized your graphic to print at 4x6 (or 5x7 if youre a big spender). 

4. grab some plain envelopes. obviously, the main advantage for buying christmas cards from a card printer is that they come with envelopes. but this is not nearly as big of a problem as you think it is. joanns sells them in the paper-crafts section with all the other card-making supplies. unfortunately my joanns didnt have any A4 envelopes appropriate for my 4x6 cards, so i got stuck with 5x7 envelopes, but i guess thats not a huge deal since 25 envelopes was $3.99 (and 30% off). 

5. and youre done! seriously, thats it. yesterday, i ordered my prints, ran to joanns for envelopes, and when i got to target to pick them up, they were done. easiest christmas cards ever. and the cost breakdown? 25 prints at $.13 each = $3.25, 25 blank envelopes (on sale) = $2.79. a beautiful mess app = $.99. total cost for 25 totally legit christmas cards? $7.03 (plus tax). 

cant beat that, can you? 

and while were on the topic, merry christmas from the meyers family to yours!



Sunday, November 30, 2014

how to fake your way to being a "cute mom". (sponsored by yogaoutlet.com)


outfit details: 
dress: c/o yogaoutlet.com
cardigan: target
 moccasins: minnetonka (purchased used)
glasses: zenni optical


every so often someone will make a comment about how im such a "cute mom". now, i try my best to take this as a compliment, but if were being honest here, this is usually said in a condescending tone, as if to say "oh victoria, thats so cute that you have all that extra time and money to invest in looking nice all the time, you must have such an easy life to have everything together like that", to which i say: BAHAHAHAHAAAAA. 

no. 

i do not have an easy life. i do not have ANYTHING even remotely together. i do not have time for shopping. i do not have money for shopping. and unless it is a very, very special occasion, i do not have the energy to spend more than three minutes a day caring about what i look like. 

im just really good at faking like im a cute mom. and today im going to share a few tips on how you can do it too. (also, im sorry for laughing at you, that probably wasnt very nice of me). 

1. find some comfy dresses. dresses are for SO MUCH MORE than just dressing up. most of the time, if im home doing chores/out running a billion errands, im wearing a dress. why? because the right dress (like this super soft organic cotton shift from yogaoutlet.com) feels like pajamas, but looks like you tried. all with the added bonus of being a whole outfit in one and not having to wear pants. 

2. cardigans and moccasins. cardigans are basically the same thing as sweatshirts. moccasins are basically the same thing as slippers. however, in both cases, one option says "why yes, i am handling things today" and the other says "i have lost all control over my life". and i dont know about you, but for me clothing has a profound psychological effect, and dressing like the former even when i feel like the latter actually helps.

3. less is more. you know all those clothes in your closet that dont fit/dont match anything/make you feel unattractive that (dont lie) are totally in your closet? just get rid of them. you cant ever look frumpy if you dont let yourself have the option of looking frumpy. thats logic. 

4. limit your color palette. generally speaking, i can pull any top and any bottom out of my closet and they will at least sort of coordinate. why? because if you were to look inside my closet, you'd see that (almost) everything is black, white, or grey, with the occasional pop of pink, red, and orange. sure this may sound boring, but do you have any idea how fast i can get dressed in the morning?

5. perfect the two-minute makeup routine. yes, most days i leave the house i wear makeup. no, this does not take any time at all. i wear my makeup the exact same way every day (blush, eyeshadow, winged liner, and mascara) and can get it done in about a minute and a half. i also have a teeny tiny makeup bag with just those things in my bathroom separate from the rest of my makeup so that i never have to waste time looking for things. i promise that if you can boil your makeup routine down to just the essentials, youll be able to go from sleepy to done up before anyone realizes you closed the bathroom door. 

6. memorize some lightning fast hairstyles. some women are blessed with hair that just naturally looks great all the time. i am not one of those women. thankfully, the internet has a LOT of resources for almost zero-effort hairstyles. i mean, we all know about topknots and ponytails, but what about a messy fishtail, rope braid, or scarf roll? honestly, until a few months ago, i had no idea there were so many easy thinks you can do with your hair to look like you tried. (my new favorite thing is this thing where i dont wash or brush my hair and pin up the front part and pretend like im fancy). 

7. most importantly, just own it. look, even if i did have the time/energy for beachy waves and cuffed white jeans or perfectly coordinating a necklace and hat with my top, that would look ridiculous. because thats not me and i cant pull that off. the #1 secret to being a "cute mom"? confidence. whatever your "look" is, as long as you own it, nobody will know that you cant do the normal "cute mom" things. 

so now that ive spilled all my secrets, steal them and go be cute. nobody has to know that youre not actually a "cute mom" cute mom...

(disclaimer: this post was sponsored by yogaoutlet.com and they provided the dress free for review. all other content and opinions are my own. p.s. be sure to check out their holiday gift guide for gift ideas for the yoga-inclined on your list)


Friday, November 14, 2014

a frustrating season and a reminder that we need this.




outfit details: 

top: jc penney (very old)
shorts: vintage
shoes: elorie (purchased from gilt)
glasses: zenni optical

if i were to describe how life is going right now, id say were in a frustrating season. and i dont just mean that because im still wearing shorts and its freaking NOVEMBER, its just that (as ive mentioned before) its that were in this prolonged season of transition. there are just so many things changing and they just wont quit moving around. have i mentioned lately how much i hate change? even though i do realize that all of these changes are moving our family forward into the kind of life that we want to have, its still frustrating. 

so, so frustrating. here are a few of the things im struggling with: 

school. this semester im in three classes. i know that doesnt sound like a lot but theyre all COMPLETELY different and have completely separate supplies and commitments. all three classes are only one day a week, so theyre LONG. im gone a lot. way more than id like to be, and when i am home, i have homework to do, or maybe i just want to sleep. its thrown a huge wrench in our weekly routines and takes so much out of me that i often feel like i cant give my best to james and alice (my priority), and honestly, i just dont have any energy left for any other family and friends. i feel like im failing everybody right now. also, i finally sat down with a fall and spring schedule to figure out what order i need to take the rest of my classes in, and the way things are set up at my school (assuming nothing gets cancelled or messed up), i wont graduate until the spring of 2017. 

work. not working at joanns anymore has been a HUGE relief, and so far, jamberry has been even more of a blessing than i could have imagined. but im starting a whole new job from scratch. everything is a learning experience, and since my time and energy are severely limited, its nearly impossible for me to stay on top of running parties, booking more parties, promoting on social media, pursuing consultant leafs, managing my team (were 12 strong now!), ordering supplies, and all the other things that being a consultant entails (no, that was NOT an exhaustive list of things i do). because of this, my workload tends to flip-flop from tons of work to none and back the other way every couple of weeks. and the fact that I'm just not naturally great at being my own boss? not helping. 

my health. honestly, my health hasnt been particularly bad lately, its just that its never all that good. i acknowledge and take full responsibility for taking on WAY more than my frail body can realistically handle, but at the same time, i kind of need it to cooperate. 

jamess job. since this spring, james has been working a ton. i mean, his schedule is only just now slowing down for winter. but hes still gone a lot, and i dont usually have the help that i need/am used to having. also, a variety of (not having anything to do with us) circumstances have put him about six months behind where he should be in his apprenticeship program. meaning, we have at least another two years before he journeys out and we dont have to deal with school week anymore. were probably going to graduate around the same time at this rate. 

but through all of this, as frustrating and seemingly endless as it feels, we need this. all of it. i need to do well in school, not only because ivee dreamt of having my own independent label since i was a little girl, but also because when i graduate, ill be able to freelance as a designer or pattern maker. and i need that long-term flexibility if were going to homeschool (which we are). i need to be optimistic and persistent with jamberry because it IS suiting our needs for a second income right now, and not having to work outside of the home is whats made going back to school even possible. i need to be patient and have a good attitude about my health because well, we all know by now that thats not changing anytime soon. and all of us need to be patient with jamess job and learn to go with the flow, because, yes, eventually he will journey out, he will make that journeyman money, and those quarterly school letters will stop coming. 

but most of all, i have to remind myself to be thankful (ha, i didnt realize when i was planning this post that it would be so seasonally appropriate). i need to be thankful that i AM in school studying my passion and im able to work from home while i do it. i need to be thankful that even though my health sucks most of the time, at least i know how to deal with it. i need to be thankful that james not only has a job, but a job with excellent benefits and a career track that will be pretty great in a few years. 

i have to be thankful that as difficult and exhausting and frustrating as things are right now, they are nowhere near as crappy as they used to be. weve spent the last two years or so deciding what kind of life we wanted for our family, and planting the sets we needed to make that happen. and now those seeds have all been planted and were waist-deep in the hard work part. a lot of the time it sucks, but we need this. we have goals, we have dreams, and they arent going to happen without all the work that were doing now. 

so instead of begrudgingly tolerating long hours, stupid homework, and shorts in november, i will be thankful. because we need this. all of it. except maybe the shorts in november part but i suppose thats just what we get for living in los angeles. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

how to take an extended hiatus from blogging without losing all your blog friends.



regular readers (if i have many left) already know about this, but in case you missed it, this summer was really weird. james worked out of town six days a week for a long time, and continued to work satudays (which is really unusual with his job) all the way up until after school started (he even worked a SUNDAY recently. this is COMPLETELY unheard of). because jamess hours have been super inconsistent for, well, out entire marriage, none of us is really used to not having james around all the thine (though i will admit that six months in a row of financial stability has been totes amazeballs). obviously with all this happening, plus me transitioning to working from home AND going to school three days a week, we have had, well, a prolonged season of transition. to be completely honest, were still figuring out how to make this work, but thats a topic for another day. 

long story short, with all this craziness going on, this here blog (and of course, the etsy shop) became terribly neglected. i used to post four (sometimes even five) times a week, every week, have new product in the shop most weeks, AND keep my editorial calendar a month ahead. but life happened and i lost my grip on blogging (and etsy-ing). 

being the defeatist quitter that i am (not being self-deprecating here, just being honest), i figured that if i couldnt keep my blog in tip-top shape id lose all my readers and i might as well give up. but surprisingly, i noticed after a few weeks that my blog wasnt going completely dead. yes my traffic was lower, and the percentage of probably-not-so-legitimate page views is maybe a bit more visible, BUT my daily traffic (even on days that i dont post) seems to be hovering around where it was maybe a year ago when i really started promoting myself. and when i do post, I'm still getting enough response (views, comments, etc.) that make it pretty obvious that not everyone has forgotten about me. 

which is really pretty awesome. but now that ive had some time to think about it. this wasnt really because of chance, or even that my blog friends are just way more awesome than others (though they are_ but also because of a few things that i did, that (knowingly or not) kept this little blog from going COMPLETELY dead during my absence. 

and since all the holiday craziness is coming up and I'm sure lots of you kind folks would like to take a breather, i thought id share some advice on how to keep things going (even when you arent blogging regularly:

1. stay active on social media. we all know by now that most of our personal connections are going to happen through social media rather than full blown blog content, right? well conveniently enough, it just so happens that staying active on social media (posting pictures, asking questions, sharing content you like) happens to take way less time and effort than writing full blog posts. during my break i spent some extra time developing my instagram, and you know what? its been great: i still got to keep up with my existing blog friends, i made some new ones, and it helped me find the inspiration to get writing again. 

2. pin all your posts on pinterest. i dont know about you, but quite a lot of my referring traffic comes from pinterest. and that wouldnt have happened if i hadnt pinned every. single. one. of my posts and images (whether i really thought they were all that pinnable or not) onto  the appropriate pinterest board. if youre not already doing this, start now. and when you have time, go back and do all your old posts. really. 

3. write reusable, perennial continent. a big reason my blog still has (a teeny tiny bit of) traffic even when im not posting is that the majority of my (recent) posts are (at least somewhat) perennial. and by that i mean, people still read them even weeks (or months) after i originally posted them, because what ive posted is still relevant and useful at any time. this is the main reason that ive shifted my content away from daily family life (which, while i do love writing it, doesnt have much of a shelf life when im not posting consistently) to more things like crafts, recipes, and tips. finding a good balance of timely and timeless posts seems to be the key here. 

4. write when you can. to be completely honest, the main reason i havent gotten to post much, is because im just simply not home much. and when i am home and have time to spend at the computer, i usually have jamberry or homework related things to handle. for a long time i was frustrated that i never had time to write posts, but then i started using early mornings and my breaks at school to write my posts in my notebook and make the graphics i need on my phone, so that way the only thing i need to do at the computer is type (and edit photos if necessary). the posts i write ahead of time dont always get published right away, but when i have a day with free computer time, i can bust out a post or three in no time at all. 

5. use your downtime wisely. not blogging consistently every week surprisingly meant that i had quite a bit more time to think about blogging: what i should write about, where i should go next, how i should change, etc., and instead of just sitting in my frustration about not having time to post, i used that time to brainstorm ideas, figure out my identity as a blogger, and i even booked a coaching call with kayli (which i highly recommend) to get a second (not-husband-cause-he-just-thinks-everything-is-great) opinion on where i should be headed. even though i didnt know when this break would end, i knew what to do when it did, which made it a lot easier to...

6. ease yourself back in. you know that perfectionist thing? well one side effect was that i kept telling myself i couldnt go back to blogging until AFTER i had an editorial calendar done for at LEAST a month and could go back to posting four times a week. and you know what? im not exactly in a position to do either of those things. so instead, im doing what i can, when i can, and slowly easing my way back into blogging. someday i may get back to my old pace, but if not, at least i didnt give up. 

7. dont compromise your content. it can be tempting to throw up a lame post or do something sponsored that you wouldnt normally do when you arent feeling inspired. i know, ive done it. but sometimes no post is better than something that doesnt fit (or worse, compromises your brand). sometimes something is better than nothing. but sometimes its not. 

8. most importantly, DONT APOLOGIZE. explain if you need to (especially, for instance, if the reason for your absence is relevant to the content of your post, like this one), but you DO NOT HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR NOT KEEPING UP YOUR SCHEDULE. im not even going to elaborate here, you just dont have to. 

so if youre currently taking a break, planning taking a break, or are coming back from an unintentional break (like i am) i hope that you find these tips helpful! cause what are blog friends for if we dont help each other out once in a while? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

accidental high-low dressing. an outfit post.








outfit details: 
jacket: free people
necklace: gift (similar)
dress: hand-me-down (handmade by a friend)
shoes: shoemint (old)
glasses: zenni optical

youre familiar with the term "high-low" dressing, right? its that thing where you pair really expensive things with really cheap things to make a unique outfit, like, an h&m top tucked into a chanel skirt or whatever. its like, a really popular thing to do. it can be fun, but with my wardrobe being in the sad, sorry state of needing new everything in recent years, my closet really didnt have much "high" to it. it was more like "low, lower, and lowest". 

but things have changed. ive gotten older and wiser and a prolonged lack of shopping money forced me to really examine my feelings about clothes. and through all of this, i learned a few things: 

1. my style really doesnt change much over time. lots of my old favorites, are still my favorites. and most of the more recent purchases i bought during my new mom identity crisis, i really really hate. 

2. i prefer a more minimal wardrobe. generally speaking, i dont typically wear that many different kind of outfits, and id rather only have things that mix and match with each other. both to save time getting ready in the morning and also to maximize my options for looking put together without always wearing the same thing. 

3. im the quality-over-quantity type. dont get me wrong, i do LOVE a bargain. but at the same time, theres a HUGE difference between something thats a great value, and something thats just cheap. and i dont know if its because of what ive learned through sewing, or if im just a snob, but i can definitely tell the difference. and maybe its just me, but id rather have one high quality shirt that will last for years than three cheap, disposable shirts. 

4. im just not that into shopping. despite the fact that i really love clothes and the visual stimulation and inspiration that comes from shopping (or sewing, or reading blogs, or people watching, or really anything for that matter), going to the mall (or thrift store, or target) to go buy clothes tends to do one of two things: either i get super stressed out and overwhelmed and cant make up my mind, or i end up impulsively buying things that really arent me because im out shopping and feel like i need to buy something. 

so even though now, thanks to jamberry and james working full-time again, i have disposable income for the first time in my entire adult life and i totally could go clothes shopping, just for fun. i havent. 

ive actually been working really hard to clean out my closet, this battle has been going on for several months and my "to get rid of" pile now reaches the ceiling. and since i (obviously, given the pile-to-the-ceiling) had WAY too many clothes to begin with, i really dont need anything. and the rare times i do shop, im looking for specific, high-quality pieces that can replace several of my old, worn out, or ill-fitting things. i usually know exactly what it is im looking for, and am just trying to find the right piece at the right price, rather than browsing to see what strikes my fancy. its not the most exciting place to be in wardrobe-wise, but its fun. 

and sometimes outfits like this one happen and its really really funny. see, every single piece of this outfit was free, except for the jacket. the dress was an old, old hand-me-down from my sister (handmade by one of our friends), the shoes i won in a blog giveaway, the pearls were a wedding present. 

but then theres the jacket. james took me out shopping for my birthday and we went to free people and he pointed out this jacket and i just HAD to have it: it was totally me, fit like a dream, was the right balance of warm-but-not-too-restrictive, and owning it would mean getting rid of like six old jackets and hoodies that i wasnt a huge fan of. but it was expensive. like, i want to barf expensive. but james insisted because it was my birthday and it was his treat. 

put the two parts together, and boom. high-low dressing. i guess this is a thing i do now. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

sometimes, you just have to spoil yourself (sponsored by the bouqs)



do you ever have those days (or weeks, or months, for that matter) where youre just like "you know what, if i can survive this, im gonna send myself a dozen roses"? or is that just me. 

cause im gonna be completely honest, i say this all. the. time. 

but then i survive whatever it was i was going through and forget to send myself those roses. 

but this week. this week is different. i was prepared to spend a couple weeks in a weird limbo trying to get back on my feet after two weeks of birthday chaos. but i was NOT prepared for birthday chaos to end with james working out of town for six days during midterms and then having school week the next week. 

so yeah. birthday chaos (which included a week of alice being very, very sick). immediately followed by six days by myself, which included both midterms and starting a new class at the homeschool co-op. and now im driving to whittier and back twice a day, on top of school and teaching and all the stuff thats normally on my plate. 

(update: james DID find a carpool on monday for the rest of the week)

but thanks to the bouqs, i was able to preemptively send myself those roses. 

and they are truly some amazing roses:



now the bouqs, they are a totally different animal when it comes to ordering flowers: they just sell flowers. beautiful, incredibly fresh flowers (from either a farm in california or the side of an active volcano in south america), at reasonable, up front prices, with no upselling or hidden fees and the easiest ordering process ever. oh, and no ugly vases to feel bad about throwing away after the flowers die. (also, i totally dig their eco-friendly and fair trade practices). 

seriously. once i had set my sights on the hope full bouq, it took a whopping three minutes before i knew EXACTLY when this was going to arrive:



and when it did, i wasted no time getting them into my favorite vintage vase: 



and holy moly i suddenly feel a heck of a lot better about how tired and cranky and stressed out i am right now, because are those not the most ridiculously bright pink roses youve ever seen? and they were so, so fresh. like, not even opened all the way fresh. like, theyve been on the table reminding me everythings ok for a week and only just yesterday started looking sad. 

so yeah, next time i want to treat myself (or someone else) to something nice, i know where im going first: the bouqs

(disclaimer: this post was sponsored by the bouqs and does contain affiliate links. i received a bouq to review, but have expressed my true, honest opinions. i love these flowers, and i hate school week)


The Bouqs - Premium Farm Direct Flowers

Monday, October 27, 2014

easy diy weeping angels.

youre probably aware by now that i had a totally rad dr who themed birthday party last weekend. and whats a dr who party without some (fake, thank GOODNESS) webbing angels hanging around to scare the bejezzus out of everyone? not much of a dr who party ad all, if you ask me...

anyway, fellow whovian party planners may or may not have seen this incredible tutorial using barbies and stone texture spray paint. its amazing. and also, really really time consuming and potentially very expensive if you dont already have all those supplies just lying around. (if you havent seen the tutorial though, go take a look, its not one to be missed). 

now, i am way, way too broke and lazy to deal with that involved of a project. so i came up with my own cheaper, faster, easier, and still freaking terrifying alternative:



heres what you need: 

1. assorted angel tchotchkes (note: these are surprisingly difficult to find seeing as folks tend to collect them and not get rid of them, so be prepared to spend some time looking for them. though i did find what i needed at a fairly large thrift store)

2. krylon natural stone spray paint (available at craft and hardware stores, i made five weeping angels without using up a whole can, so you dont need a lot)

3. paper and tape to mask off a safe area for overspray (very important)

heres what you do:

step 1: pick a nice sunny spot outside and tape down some paper to protect everything around you from overspray (do NOT make my mistake of picking a spot in the shade because you think it will make the project more comfortable, because all it will do is make your angels take for-freaking-ever to dry):



step 2: thoroughly coat your angels with the spray. please note that the stone spray is a lot less like paint and a lot more like stuff with bits in it so make sure to turn your pieces upside down, spray the underside first, THEN turn them over and spray from the top:




step 3: let your angels dry for at least fifteen minutes in the sun (guess how many tries it took me to figure that one out...), before going back to fill in the nooks and crannies. dont worry about the paint getting thick, lumpy or drippy though, it just adds to the effect. 



step 4: let them dry (again IN. THE. SUN.) for a couple more hours until the stone finish fully hardens, and then YOURE DONE!

wasnt that easy? 

im really happy with how these came out, and i got a LOT of compliments about them at the party. mainly im happy that i got to still have my weeping angels for about $15 and an hour, instead of spending who knows how much on an all day project. 

please let me know if you try this out, id love to see what you make!

(p.s. this post was not sponsored in any way by krylon it just so happens that they make the only stone type spray paint i could find)