Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smelly Towels

Don't forget all in-stock calendars are now 25% off.
Visit my shop to check it out.

Interested in getting a FREE calendar AND earning some extra holiday cash?  Find out more about our Calendar Ambassador program here.
Wanna get a sneak peek at the new line?  You're invited.
My bath towels have been smelling lately.  Like mildew.

It's disgusting, and a total bummer to rub stinky, smelly towels all over your freshly cleaned body.

I want my towels to smell like this:

Not this:

Brooke told me to put baking soda in my wash.  Lots of it.

So I did.  Lots of it.

Now my towels smell like mildewed cookies.

Anyone have any suggestions, or is it time for a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Much Ado About the Holidays

Don't forget all in-stock calendars are now 25% off.
Visit my shop to check it out.

Interested in getting a FREE calendar AND earning some extra holiday cash?  Find out more about our Calendar Ambassador program here.

We are just about two weeks away from introducing the new line!
I am so super excited for you all to see it.
24 beautiful new designs will be up in the shop on October 15th.
Wanna get a sneak peek the night before?

If you live in the South Orange County area {or if you just want a good excuse to visit here},
you are invited to join us at our 2nd Annual:

 Much Ado About the Holidays

Monday, September 27, 2010

Now Accepting Applications

Nathan and I have these friends... we'll call them Beth and Corey {because those are their actual names}.  They are two of our favorite people on the planet.  Pretty much every weekend we try to talk them into driving down from their house {which is 40 minutes away and which we are not allowed in... something about renovations and heart palpitations}.  

This weekend we got to spend almost the entire Saturday with them {and Brooke's family, which I would mention if I thought she would ever bother to read my blog}.  It was super terrific.

On top of being super fun and funny, Beth and Corey happen to really dig my business.  They are constantly coming up with ideas for me, and trying to help figure out how we are going to take Much Ado About You to the next level so that I can hire both of them and we can all move to the beach in North Carolina. 

{Photos from the best week ever... spent in Wrightsville Beach, NC}

So our Saturday fun-day-in-the-sun turned into a business strategy meeting.  

We came up with a lot of great ideas... and one of them
may involve you.

Today I am introducing
Much Ado About You's
Calendar Ambassador Program

We are looking for a handful of women from across the country that would like to help spread the word about Much Ado About You, and get some great benefits in return.

Here's how the program will work:

*We will send each Calendar Ambassador {let's just call them CA's from here on out so that I can stop typing Calendar Ambassador} a sample kit, including three calendars {one of each size} and a handmade catalog of the 2011 line.

*The CA will use this kit to share Much Ado About You with their friends, family, neighbors, the lady in front of them in the DMV line... anyone they think may be interested in purchasing a super adorable planner.

*Each CA will be given a special code to share with their "customers" that will allow us to track the orders placed through their promotion.

Okay, now for the super fun part:

In exchange for helping us grow the Much Ado About You Calendar Empire,
each CA will get the following benefits:

1. One of the three sample calendars will be their pick from the new line, and will be personalized for them to keep... absolutely FREE.

2. For every order placed through the end of January 2011 using their special code, they will get $10!
{What a fun and easy way to make a little extra Christmas cash, huh?}

3. At a time of their choosing, they can give the other two samples away to friends or their own blog followers, and we will send the lucky winners the personalization they need to complete their calendar.

4. The special code will allow their friends to receive a discount on their purchases!

It's a win-win-win.

Are you ready to join the movement and become a CA?

If you think you have what it takes {which, let's be honest, is just a little calendar enthusiasm} then take advantage of this great opportunity to get yourself a free calendar and a little spending cash to boot!
To apply, please fill out the
by October 5th.

Hurry... this program is in the beta testing phase, and we are only going to hire a very limited number of CA's... so you gotta convince us that you are really excited and going to take your position seriously.

{Do I sound official and boss-like?}

Did you think that I forgot about the giveaway?  I did not.  Congratulations to Brandi! chose you as the winner of the How to Pray Cards giveaway.
Molly will contact you later to let you know how to claim your prize.

If you didn't win... get on over to Molly's shop.  She has updated her card sets to be spiral bound, and is clearing out all her sets with a single punch ring.  Buy 3 get one FREE, which makes them just $11 a set.  Stock up now for Christmas!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Calling all Shop Owners

Looking for the How to Pray Cards  giveaway?  Scroll down or click here.
Don't forget about the HUGE SALE going on now in my shop.  Save 25% off all calendars!
Normally I give you information {however useless it may be}.

But today I need you to give me information.

If you have your own business... I need your feedback.

As you all know, I currently have an Etsy shop.

{Please note all the items marked "SALE".  This is a current picture people.}

I am also currently paying a lot of money to Etsy.

Now don't get me wrong... I love Etsy.
There are so many wonderful things about this community, and I think it is a perfect starting place for a homemade business.

There are just a few limitations with Etsy that are causing me to consider leaving.

So below are my pros and cons about Etsy, to give you an idea of what I am looking for.
If you use a service other than Etsy, or if you know about some impending changes at Etsy that might resolve some of these issues for me... please comment.

*It is free to open a shop on Etsy.
*The community of Etsy is fantastic, and I love the support of handmade goods.
*The layout is nice, simple, and fairly easy to navigate.
*The search feature brings me a lot of random buyers that may not have known about my shop otherwise.
*Customers have to open an Etsy account in order to make a purchase.
*There is no way to have "options" on a listing, so I have to rely on my customers remembering to fill out the Message to Seller at checkout to give me the information on customizing and personalizing their products.
*There is a fee for every listing and every transaction, which for my shop results in at least $600 a year.
*The search feature can distract buyers away from my shop.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated today!  I have kind of decided that if I am going to make a switch, I would like to do it with the release of my new line... which is just three weeks away!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Raving Fans

Looking for the How to Pray Cards  giveaway?  Scroll down or click here.
Don't forget about the HUGE SALE going on now in my shop.  Save 25% off all calendars!
So last week was the deadline for my Raving Fan Contest, but with being in Minneapolis and everything... I'm just now getting to it.  That's my life peeps!
So here they are... let's start with the Raving Fan winner.
Congratulations Jen Leathers!  
I have seen her calendar in person, and I love that she uses her's even more than I use mine.  See:
Here are the reasons that Jen thought she should win {and I agreed}:
1.  I use it EVERY day.
2.  I'm a list maker and LOVE to check stuff off my calendar.
(If you could actually see the details of those photos, that would make more sense.)
3.  Despite the fact that we're in a "digital age", I love my PAPER calendar.
(I also love books, to feel the paper and will most likely never own a kindle.)
4.  And I RARELY win things (unlike yourself), so it would be nice to win one...
5.  ... and make my husband even HAPPIER as I stay on budget another month!

Well look at that Grant... hopefully this made your day!
Now for the Future Raving Fans.
I loved these entries, so I couldn't pick just one.
Here are my three winners {I know... aren't I generous}:
Jess Mikel from Yours Truly Dear who said:
Hello Emmy and team!
I have attached a couple pictures of me with my current...calendar. It's technically called a "Personal Pocket Planner." Classy, huh? It's from the Forest Service, and says "PLEASE Be Careful With All Fires" on the front. The only reason I like it is because I collect Smokey the Bear stuff. And it's yellow (one of my favorite colors, as you can tell by my [unplanned] matching shirt).

So, having a Much Ado About You calendar would basically make my life SO much better because:
-i would be instantly cuter
-all the ladies at church would be totally jealous when i whip it out
-i am poor and can only afford this free personal pocket planner. So it would make me feel...less...poor?
-i won't forget all my important appointments (such as laser hair removal appts, job interviews, the iraq...such as...)
might actually remember peoples birthdays, which would make them like me more
-it would take me from ghetto-fab to fancy-fab

I really can't imagine it getting any better than all of the above. I hope you agree :]

xoxo Jess
I hope you feel less poor today.
And I loved your subtle stab at Miss South Carolina.
Ann Swindell from Pretty Little Notebook, who had this to say:

Hi Emmy!

As the attached photos will show, I'm a bit of a train wreck when it comes to using any sort of planner. I've tried paper planners, google calendars online, even alarms in my cell phone. Sadly, the only thing that ever really has worked is writing on my hand...
which makes me look like a third grader when, in real life, I'm a classy, put-together woman (I hope, I hope!). I can't tell you how much one of your planners would help me organize my life in a coherent way; I keep cute things around, and your planners are soooo cute! I really believe it could change my life! It would also really help my hubby...the ink stains I leave on his hands aren't his favorite. :-)

Thanks for the chance to win! 


Here's to making you look like the classy lady that you are.  
{I mean, I think you are.  I'm just taking your word for it since we haven't actually met yet.}

And finally, Jen W of Jen in SLO.

Jen wins for creativity in her entry.

That's not a picture of a calendar, you're thinking?  That's what I thought to... until  I read this:

Hi Emmy!

What a fun contest. I think my calendar is very good-looking, but it's not very practical, is not always readily accessible, and sometimes has a mind of its own! It took several minutes of logical reasoning and pitiful begging to convince my calendar that the possibility of having his picture posted on your website, if I were to win, was totally worth it for an awesome Much Ado About You calendar!

Whenever something needs to be scheduled, I say, "Joe, do we have anything going on this date?" He looks on his paper calendar (designed by him & printed on plain printer paper) and lets me know. If I'm free, he pencils in my activity.  I know a Much Ado About You calendar would make scheduling much more efficient!

Jen W

I loved, loved, loved laughing at the entries.  I think we will definitely have to make this an annual contest.

Jen L, Jess, Ann and Jen W... congratulations!
I will be contacting you with the details about getting your sneak peek at the new line, and first choice for your new free calendars.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Truth, Consequences & The Biggest Sale Ever

Looking for the How to Pray Cards  giveaway?  Scroll down or click here.
Okay, truth first.
In the spirit of my You're the Boss series, I feel like I should allow those of you who are looking to me for business advice to learn a little from my mistakes.
I have participated in and even planned several boutiques.
I enjoy boutiques so much.
I love getting to be face to face with my customers.
I love meeting other vendors and encouraging each other.

But the boutiques that I have done have always been on the small scale.

There are several larger scale events that I have considered over the last couple of years, but nothing has ever really seemed like exactly the right fit.

So two months ago, when I heard about The Creative Connection, I thought... this is it!
The Handmade Market at The Creative Connection seemed like the perfect fit for Much Ado About You.
The booth fees were reasonable, some of my favorite businesses were participating, and the 500 people attending the conference were crafters... my kind of customers.

I invested a small fortune to participate in TCC.  Booth fees.  Airfare.  Hotel.  Shipping 9 boxes of products to Minneapolis.  That Target fiasco.

Participating in boutiques and markets is always a craps shoot.  Anytime I sign up for one, I do it knowing that I may not sell a single item.  I may have to consider that event to have been a networking opportunity, and not a sales opportunity.

Let's just say that The Creative Connection was a great networking opportunity.

So for those of you that are getting ready to start your very first boutique season... a few tips:
1.  Consider the audience.  Who is the event being marketed to?  Will these people be likely to be interested in your products?
2.  How many products will you have to sell before you will turn a profit?  Is that realistic?  Can you not only cover your costs, but also make enough money to also cover your time?

3.  How are you going to attract people to your booth, and how are you going to make them remember you?  Be strategic about your set up and consider either handing out a small item attached to your business card or offering some kind of make-and-take item from your booth.

Alright, so that's the truth.  While TCC was an amazing amount of fun and a fantastic opportunity for exposure... it was not a successful sales event.

Now the consequences.
The great thing about selling calendars is that people need a new calendar every year.
The bad thing about making calendars is that they are a time sensitive product that can only be sold for a limited time.  Which is why I usually make my products to order.

For the TCC I had to have product to sell off my table, so I pre-made lots of calendars... all starting in September.

I've got several boxes of September start calendars on their way back here from Minneapolis.

Which leads me to the final part of this posting... The Biggest Sale Ever.

As I have mentioned, I have been working on the 2011 line which will be released on October 15th.  It is pretty fantastic {if I do say so myself}, and I am super excited to for you all to see it.  
But in the meantime I am offering the best deal on a calendar that I ever have and probably ever will {since I plan to learn from my mistakes and not pre-make this many calendars ever again}.
From now until they are sold out, all the calendars in my shop are 25% off!
So what are you still doing here... get over there and get shopping!

How to Pray Cards Giveaway

I think one of the hardest things for people to wrap their mind around is talking to God.

It seems strange to speak to someone that you can't see, and it can make you feel awkward and inadequate.

Is anybody else agreeing with me???

A couple of years ago my sister made me a set of Prayer Cards for Mother's Day.  It was called How to Pray for Your Children.  It was a set of 15 laminated note cards, each one with a prayer suggestion and a coordinating scripture.

For example, one of them says:
Pray that they will be caught when guilty and that discipline will lead them to repentance.

And then the scripture is:
"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees." Psalm 119:71

She also made a set for my mom called How to Pray for Your Grandchildren.  Like me with my calendars, Molly had no intention when she made these cards of creating a product... she just wanted some nice Mother's Day gifts for the mothers in her life.  But my mom and I were blown away, and started showing them to friends.

Pretty soon, the orders started rolling in and Molly began creating sets for several different topics, many of which were special requests from customers.

How to Pray with Your Child
How to Pray for Your Grown Children
How to Pray for Your Students
How to Pray for Your Teachers
How to Pray for Your Husband
How to Pray for Your Wife
How to Pray for a Birthmother
{which I currently have in my nightstand}
How to Pray for Your Pastor
How to Pray for Your Sponsored Child
How to Pray for Your Graduate
How to Pray for Your Soldier/Marine/Sailor/Airman
How to Pray in Challenging Times
How to Pray on the Mission Field

She also created a line of Memory Verse Cards:
God’s Word for New Moms
God's Word for a Mom's Heart
God’s Word for a Child’s Heart
God’s Word for a Teen’s Heart
God's Word for Training Your Child's Heart - Volume 1
God's Word for Training Your Child's Heart - Volume 2
God’s Word for Your Sponsored Child
God’s Word for the Graduate
God’s Word in Challenging Times
God's Word for a Soldier's/Marine's/Sailor's/Airman's Heart

She is constantly working on new titles, and loves getting suggestions from people that are struggling with a particular situation in their life.  She is working on How to Pray When Your Womb is Empty... inspired by yours truly. 

She can also personalize the sets:

My sweet, sweet sister {yes, she is the sweet one... just ask my mom}has taken the summer off to spend more time with her family, but she's ready now to get back to work!

So we are giving away one set of your choice from my sister's shop, How to Pray Cards. 

The contest will run until this Sunday (September 26th) at midnight PST.

Here's how to enter:

Leave a comment with your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

If you want a second entry:
Become a follower over in the right sidebar and leave me a second comment.  
If you already are a follower, just remind me.

If you want a third entry:
Head on over to How to Pray Cards and let me know which set you would get if you win, and leave a separate comment.  
If you have already done this, let me know... and thanks for the support!

If you want a fourth entry:
Post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook status {honor system here}.

Please leave separate comments for each entry.

The winner will be announced on Monday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

What an amazing week I had!

I really had no idea what to expect from the Creative Connection.  The last two months since I heard about it and decided to go seem like a blur.  I was hopeful that it would all turn out to be a good investment, but I had no idea that what I was actually investing in was relationships with these beautiful women:

My sweet, sweet friend Gussy was so generous to introduce Mego and me to her amazing blog bffs and include us in all the festivities.  We felt like we were back in school, being asked to sit at the cool kids' table!  On Friday night there was a VIP Party for all the vendors, speakers, teachers, panelists and volunteers.  

Mego and I felt like the NVIP's.

We kept having to pinch ourselves to believe that here we were in a room full of some of the biggest names in the crafting/blogging community... and they were talking to US.

Okay, so you could tell I was an inexperienced blogger because I thought I could get away with not bringing my big camera.  I mean, I already had about 250 pounds worth of luggage... no room for the camera!

Luckily, Mego brought a camera, so there are some pictures.

Here are my highlights from my week at The Creative Connection.

1. Meeting Ree Drummond.  I mean, c'mon.  Does it get any better than that?  And the best part was that she was so sweet and humble, and generously talked with me for quite a while.

2.  Getting my calendar signed by Heather Bailey... that's just cool.

3.  Meeting Gussy, who was just as sweet in real life, and about whom I know I will some day say "I knew her when".  I wish I had had half of her drive at 25.

4.  Meeting Jessica and Mique, the sisters behind The Queen Bee Market that I will be participating in this November.  I heart these girls big time!  It turns out that Mego and I were on the same flight with them from Minneapolis to Denver yesterday and the nice lady at Frontier put us all in the same row.
{Although... the people sitting around us probably didn't thing that was too nice of her!}

5.  Meeting Lindsey Cheney, who so very generously went out of her way to bring the Powerhouse Trifecta over to my booth... Laurie of Tip Junkie, Cindy from Skip to my Lou, and Kim from Today's Creative Blog.  {Sidenote: I gave them all calendars and Laurie and Cindy both tweeted about them!}
Thanks for taking care of me Lindsey!

6.  Meeting Lisa Leonard.  I cannot say enough about my new friend Lisa Leonard.  What an amazingly talented, sweet, humble, generous person.  She had to have been exhausted from running her booth and sitting on panels, but she spent her evenings allowing all the rest of us to pick her brain about our own businesses.  I don't know if you know this... but Lisa is kind of a big deal.  But you would never know it from hanging out with her.

Oh... and these are the Lisa Leonard necklaces that we got on our place settings at the gala.  Fantastic, huh?

7.  Spending a week, kid-free, with my bff.  I love you Mego... thank you for everything.  I would have been a puddle without you.

8.  Meeting these two ladies:

These ladies were Mego and Me, fast forward a few years!  They had us in stitches and were so sweet and encouraging in a moment that we really needed it.  They were sent from above indeed.

9.  Seeing all the great and quirky stuff {some more quirky than great... as seen here}

and getting an Amy Butler Sweet Life bag for $45.
Mego and I got matching bags.
We were feeling kind of guilty for spending money on ourselves... until we found out that these bags apparently retail for $195!   

And number 10.  Having my baby run across the airport and come flying into my arms when I returned home.  That was the best part of all.

I am happy to be home, and all filled up with encouragement, ambition, and excitement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Good Day

Mego and I are having a fantastic time at The Creative Connection.  Yesterday we sold enough to partially cover the cost of our lunch... so that was good.

Yeah.  It's been slow.  Really, really slow.

Today is Ree Drummond's book signing, so we're hopeful that having the Pioneer Woman around the corner from our booth will increase our sales {to maybe cover the cost of our lunch at least}.  They're expecting 2000 people for the signing... or so we have been told.

Okay, but seriously {other than the total lack of sales} yesterday was amazing!

First of all... for my fellow Paper Freaks... I met Heather Bailey!  AND she signed my calendar that has her paper on it!!!

Then, as Mego and I left the Exhibit Hall I remembered that I had left my Pioneer Woman's Cookbook at my booth, and we thought that she might be signing them at the Gala, so I ran back to get it.  While Mego was standing in the foyer waiting for me, who should walk up but the Pioneer Woman herself!  Mego was freaking out because she was afraid I wasn't going to get back in time to see her.  So when I came walking up she was like... "Look!  It's Ree!  And she's just standing there and no one is even talking to her."

It was so weird.  There she was, standing at her table, with women all around her, but no one even approaching her.

So Mego and I walked up with our books and I said, "Am I allowed to talk to you yet?"  And without missing a beat, she looked at her naked wrist like she was checking her watch and said, "Um... okay, I guess so!"  She was so very sweet and funny, and remembered the calendar that I had sent her and said she loves it.  She remembered that when she opened it, Marlboro Man's employee had loved it so much that she ordered one for herself.  I name dropped our mutual friend Sandi's name so she would know I was not a crazy fan {well, think that I was not a crazy fan}.

And all this time, we were still the only women even noticing Ree!

So then we went upstairs to get pretty for the gala.

I got to sit at a table with Gussy, Jessica from Allora Handmade, her sister Mique from 30 Days, Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy, and Lisa Leonard... who had designed a necklace especially for this event that was on each of our place settings!

{Pictures to follow... I can't get my stinkin' upload to work right now!}

And we got these amazing swag bags with a bunch of fun loot

THEN... Amy Butler was the keynote speaker.

It was an overwhelming night.

This morning we are back at the Market.  It's been a slow morning again, although there are a lot more people here.  Ree's book signing starts in a half a hour... so we're hopeful.  Wish us luck {or actually... just wish us lots of sales!}.

More later...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1: The Target Fiasco

Okay, so I am beyond exhausted and we have a VERY long day ahead of us tomorrow, so I am going to give you a VERY brief synopsis of our day.

Walked into the Exhibit Hall to see some amazing fabulous displays.
Felt really overwhelmed.

Decided to walk two blocks to Target to purchase some items to make our booth look a little better.
It started to pour while we were in Target.
Decided instead of paying $5 for a cab to take the Skyway back to the hotel, which is this super cool indoor walkway that connects basically the whole downtown, only it wasn't a straight shot back to the hotel.
Walked about 15 blocks instead of 2 back to the hotel, carrying several ridiculously heavy bags.

Set up our booth.

Felt a little better.
Showered and tried to destinkify.
Had a super fun time at the Handmade Market Earlybird Night!

Not sure why my new phone, which is supposed to take super great pictures didn't.
Met Heather Bailey... a highlight!
Ate the worst burger I have ever had in my life, but with some amazing new friend
{and one super terrific old one}.

Going to bed... goodnight!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lookout Minneapolis!

Minneapolis doesn't know what just hit it!

Mego and Emo have arrived.

I can hardly believe that we are actually here.  Two months ago, when my friend Sandi emailed me and told me that I had to come to this event, I thought she was crazy!  How the heck was I going to be able to make enough product, figure out a display, find a friend to come with me and get myself to Minneapolis in less than two months???

But here I am!  I shipped nine boxes of product {105 calendars and address books, 20 blank calendars, 22 sets of notecards, 34 journals, 120 pen loops, 150 bookmarks, and a partridge in a pear tree}, I brought two suitcases full of fabric, banners, baskets and my Cricut, and I talked Mego into coming with me!  

Tomorrow morning I am meeting Gussy, who so generously offered to allow me to ship my 9 boxes of product to her house {here in Minneapolis} and is bringing them to me at the hotel.  I can't wait to finally meet my sweet friend in person!

That's right!  I get to meet Gussy.  And Lisa Leonard.  And Lindsey from the Pleated Poppy.  And Amy Butler.  And Heather Bailey.  And REE DRUMMOND.

Oh my gosh.  I'm getting a little overwhelmed.  Okay, I promise to post some pictures tomorrow.  If you are in the Minneapolis area... you should definitely come on by the Hyatt Regency and visit us at the Handmade Market!  Mention that you are a blog follower, and I will give you an extra 10% off.

Paper Freak... signing out from the Midwest!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confession: I Hate Beans

I do.  I hate beans.  Pinto, black, refried, kidney, Lima… you name the bean and I hate it.

But I love chili. 

So my fantastic friend, Jennifer gave me her bean-less chili recipe, and it inspired a new tradition: 
the Chili Party.

I don’t know about you, but I love to entertain.  I am Monica from Friends.  I have a small home and a small budget, but I love to be the hub of the happenings!  Last Halloween we decided to host a Chili Party with our friends and neighbors before heading out to trick-or-treat with the kiddos.  {I am so looking forward to continuing the tradition this Halloween.}

It was fantastic
The best part was I spent $60 feeding 30 people.

Yesterday was cold and misty, and got me super excited for the fall... so I ran out and got all the fixin's for chili night, and when Beau and Nathan got home from Beau's football practice, we had a feast!

Here’s the recipe.
If you are one of those weird people that actually likes beans, you can include them,
but I DON’T recommend it!

Jennifer’s Halftime Chili
{Serves about 8 adults}

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped white onions
8 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 pounds ground chuck (I usually use about ½ pound extra since I DO NOT use beans)
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
14 ½-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
12-ounce beer
6-ounce can tomato paste
8-ounce cube of cream cheese

And if you REALLY want them: 15-ounce can prepared chili beans

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch Oven {or just use whatever big pot you’ve got, if you are not fancy enough for a Dutch Oven, which I am not} over medium-high heat. 
Add onions and garlic.
Sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Stir 2 minutes.
Mix in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, beer, tomato paste, and cream cheese.  Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about 1 hour 15 minutes {however, if you prefer to make it further ahead of time, you can throw it in a crock pot on high for the 1 hour and 15 minutes, and then turn it down to low or warm until you are ready to serve}. 
Add the cream cheese and stir until melted.
If you are some kind of weird bean lover, mix in the beans {YUCK} and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now, if you’ve got one of those fantastic Lazy Susan’s like the one Brooke bought me for Christmas, use it to serve all the fixin’s:
Roasted bell peppers.
Sour cream.
And, of course, chips {the scoop-y shaped ones are best... Nathan likes Fritos} for the dipping!

Now I am hungry.  I'm going to go eat my leftovers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day

Today is the first day of school.
Beau is starting second grade.
I can't believe that my baby is a second grader.
It makes me feel old, and reminds me how quickly this all goes by.  

Please notice the lovely scabs all over my son's face.  That's right... just in time for the first day of school he fell off his bike yesterday and scraped up his whole face.  Hopefully they will be healed before picture day!

I want to remind you that you have just one week to submit your Raving Fan and Future Raving Fan photos.  The winners will get a sneak peek at the 2011 Calendar Line from Much Ado About You and a FREE calendar of their choice.  For details on how to enter, click here.

Also, I have two other giveaways going on right now for very good causes.

Over on This Life I Live, Danielle is hosting a giveaway {much like the one I did} to raise money for some friends of her's that are trying to adopt {see their story here}. This giveaway goes through this Friday {September 10th} so be sure to get over there right away and check it out!

On Bald for Becky I am participating in her fundraiser to raise money for Becky who is currently undergoing Chemotherapy.  This auction also ends on Friday night, so check it out today!

Please consider making donations to either one of these causes, and then, hey... maybe you'll win a calendar and lots of other cool prizes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Emmy's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

You may have noticed that I did not blog yesterday.

That's because it was not a good day.
It was one of those days that you wonder why you ever got out of bed, and wish that, like Groundhog's Day, you could just start it all over again and do it better.

So let me take you through my day.
First of all {sorry to any male readers... do I have any male readers???} I started my period for the first time in three months.  In an effort to suppress my Endometriosis, I am taking Seasonique, which makes me have only 4 cycles a year.  Yesterday was the start of one of those cylces.

The morning started out all right {other than that visit from Aunt Flo}.  My new printer was supposed to be delivered at 12:05pm.  We are smack in the middle of preparing our inventory for The Creative Connection, which needs to go in the mail STAT {STAT means now, people} and my old printer decided to bust on me.  So several days and several hundreds of dollars later... the new printer was on its way.

Only, it wasn't.

Let's see if I can summarize this quickly... the printer was supposed to be delivered today {on the 2nd}, but it was running ahead of schedule and said it was coming yesterday {the 1st} instead.  Only, they actually delivered it on Tuesday {the 31st} on the one day of the summer that I actually left my house and tried to go have a little fun.  So I missed that delivery and they wouldn't leave it.  When I called FedEx to find out if I could pick up my package they said yes, and marked it to come off the truck.  THEN they told me I had to pick it up in Anaheim... a 40 minute drive from my house.  So I told them to nevermind and just go ahead and deliver it on the 1st... you all still with me???

Only, they apparently forgot to correct that memo in the system.

So yesterday at 12:01pm I thought to myself, Maybe I should check to make sure the tracking says that my package is actually being delivered today... in four minutes.

When I logged on to the website I saw this message:
"Held at FedEx location for recipient pickup."

Yes, my printer was being held at the facility... in Anaheim!

After a mild meltdown Jennifer calmed me down and declared that we were taking a Much Ado About You field trip to FedEx.  So we got in the car with all the kids and spent two hours driving to Anaheim and back.

Jennifer then carried my 70 pound printer up the stairs and into my office.  She is strong.  I am not.

We carefully followed each of the 18 steps to install the printer.  Everything went great.  Until we got to 18.

Step 18 required that we insert the Installation Disk which would automatically launch the installation process.  Only it didn't.

It didn't do anything.

So I restarted my computer.

And restarted my computer again.

And restarted my computer one more time.

Then I stomped my feet, said some choice words, and cried.  I had reached my breaking point.

Did I mention that my air conditioner is broken and it was 83 degrees in my house at the time?

I have to tell you... I pride myself on being a person that can handle a lot of stress.  It takes a lot to break me.  I don't cry very often.

Yesterday broke me.
Luckily Sarah was here, and even though she was in the corner laughing at my tantrum, she still had the presence of mind to call her husband and ask him to come help.

James... my very favorite person in the world... came and got my printer working.

Everything was better.

We were getting to work... printing like printing fools.  Binding. Tabbing.  It was a beautiful thing.

Then Sarah and I decided to take a break and run to McDonald's for some dinner.

Apparently McDonald's did not get the memo about my day.

I ordered a Big Mac with no lettuce and no pickle.  You can see for yourself what the tag on the box, that I checked before we drove away, said:

Hmm... do you notice the leaf in this picture???

Apparently the chef at McD's thought that "W/O" meant "with only".

The cheese and the dressing are my favorite things about the Big Mac.

This was the perfect epitome of my day yesterday.
Today has been better.
I'm hopeful for tomorrow.