Monday, January 31, 2011

Indie Business 3.0

I thought that some of you might like to know about a fantastic online course being offered by three amazing Small Business Owners. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Leonard at The Creative Connection last fall, and I can say with all honesty that she was one of the most incredible women I have ever met.  She was the most kind, generous, humble, wonderful lady.  You would never know hanging out with her that she is actually a really big deal.  I love her.

Anyway, she and two other women {Leigh-Ann of and Jill of} have put together a course on Starting, Surviving, & Succeeding in the World of Independent Creative Business.  It's an interactive, 6-week online course that will cover such topics as Constructing your Style, Product & Potential, Being a Debt Free Business, and much, much more.

If you want more information, check out Lisa's blog.  Registration opens tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Carseat Shopping: Day 1

I got a Babies 'R Us catalog in the mail the other day.  It said that you could bring in any used carseat and get 25% off a new one.  So, turns out it was worth it to hang on to Beau's old infant carrier for eight years! 

Okay, but have you ever had one of those experiences where you go to shop for something, and you really just kind of want to look around on your own, but some crazy salesperson has a different plan for how your shopping experience should go???

Enter crazy Babies 'R Us sales guy. 

Guess what crazy sales guy, even though giving 100% of your attention to collapsing a stroller may be the safest thing to do... I would rather be able to hold my baby and collapse my stroller at the same time.  And while it may comfort you to know that I could lift the Graco SnugRider upside down over my head, and my baby's carseat would not shake loose... I actually don't plan on doing that.  So the Snap 'n Go will do me just fine. 

Your scare tactics will not work on me crazy sales guy.  I have been around the block as a parent before.  I know that practicality almost always wins out.  And having to use both hands to fold a stroller into an origami shape that I may not ever be able to get it out of is not my idea of practical.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So what do you think???

So here it is... the new design.  What do you think?

I was getting annoyed by all the clutter on my blog, so I really pared it down.  

If you are a sponsor wondering where the heck your button went... I'll be in touch soon.  In the meantime, do you like it?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Pop-In

Today my friend Sandi came over to visit me and see my new place.

When she was on her way over, I looked around in horror, knowing it was entirely too late for me to do anything about what was about to happen.

These thoughts ran through my head:

I could tell her we were robbed, and the house was ransacked.

I could pretend like we just moved on Monday (only dang... she knows that's not true).

I could hide when she knocks.

I could throw on my bathrobe, mess up my hair, put some blush on my nose, and tell her she can't come in because I don't want to get her sick.

Shoot... too late! There she was at the door. Only, it was worse than I thought because she brought her husband with her. Thank goodness I know that these two people happen to be two of the least judgmental people I know.

So there I was, "showing off" my new home in all it's ever-loving-disaster glory.

Please know that I am not exaggerating. It was a disaster. Don't believe me? Okay. You forced me. I'll prove it to you:

That is just a small sampling.  Does that make you feel better about your house? It should.
{If it doesn't, then I'm thinking you should get to cleaning.}

Do you have a friend whose house is always in pristine condition?
You know... that girl whose home looks like it jumped off the pages of a magazine, even when you pop in?

That is not my house. So, if you need a friend whose house makes you feel better about the state of affairs in your house... come on over.

I haven't always been like this. Well, I was... then I wasn't... now I am again.

When I was little my room needed excavators to find the carpet. But then I grew up and got my own home and felt pride in keeping it in that "oh sure, come on over" state. Then I started my own business. Then I moved. For the last month my house has looked like a bomb went off, and I can't seem to get a grip on it.

Yet even in the midst of insanity, I find that I am still anal about funny things. Every morning I leave my curling iron and flat iron on my bathroom counter cooling. And every night {even though there is laundry all over my bedroom, three trash bags full of clothes that I haven't decided yet where to put, and trash spilling out of the can} I make sure to wrap up the cords and put my irons away while I sleep. Even though I will just bring them out first thing in the morning, and even though there is no one coming into my bathroom while I sleep to see them... even though... I am compelled to put them away.  Nevermind the fact that I have to leap across piles of crap to get to my bed... but my irons are in their rightful place!

Hopefully someday soon I will have order in my home once again, and not have to feel terror at the prospect of someone wanting to come upstairs.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changes are Coming

Everything else in my life is changing... why not make some changes here?

I've decided to simplify my blog.

There is going to be a very different look on this blog soon.  There will be much less clutter.  There will be fewer distractions.  I have already removed the Google Ads.  More will probably be disappearing soon.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Things I Haven't Needed in a While

Last week I finally sent all of my paperwork off to the Adoption Agency.  Whew!

As I walked the box out to my doorstep for the Postman to pick up I felt like I was at the top of a roller coaster.  You know... that part where you have finished the big, tedious, slow climb up the hill, and you are paused just for a moment looking at the giant adrenaline rush that is coming your way.  That's what it felt like.

This baby is coming soon.  I feel it.  Which made me start to think about all the things that are going to change in my life.

And all the baby items that I need to purchase.

It has been a long time since we have needed a carseat, or a stroller, or a diaper bag, or a Pack 'n Play, or bottles... or anything infant related... in this house.

So, first things first, I figure we need a carseat and a stroller.  That's where you all come in.  I know that many of you have had babies more recently than I have, so I need your advice.  I need you to tell me what brands you use, what you love about them, what you hate about them, and if you would buy them again.

The first time we bought a stroller, we bought the most expensive one on the market, thinking it must be the best... right?  Wrong.  I hated that stroller.  It broke within the first few weeks of using it.  It had a very small basket.  It took way too many hands to collapse.  It kind of sucked.

All my friends on Facebook are suggesting the Bugaboo.  Before I go and spend enough money to feed a small country for a week, I'm gonna have to be convinced that nothing comes close to this thing.  So who has it?  Is it worth it?  Could you live without it???

And any great carseat suggestions?  We had a Britax carseat for Beau and I loved it!  The Velcro that held the straps open was a stroke of genius, as far as I am concerned!

Okay, so that covers the two essentials.  Now let's talk about the fun stuff.  A diaper bag.

The last time I had a baby, there was no such thing as a designer diaper bag.  Or maybe I was just too young and poor to know anything about that.  But seriously, I don't think Petunia Pickle Bottom existed.  I remember when my sister had her first baby, I was so excited to buy her a PPB bag... to live vicariously through her baby style.  When Beau was a baby I had a black vinyl backpack diaper bag from Babies 'R Us that I got for $30.

Last night I was introduced to this:

{I thank you Heather... but I'm not sure my husband will.}

Are you kidding me???  THIS is a diaper bag?  I think I must have it.

Do any of you have it?  Is it as functional as it is fabulous???  I need to know people.  If you or anyone you know has this bag... please tell me everything you know about it.  Now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Etsy Obsession: Chandeliers

It's been a while since I have given you any Etsy shout-outs, so this morning I thought I would share one of my current obsessions with you all:

1.  Seequin
8.  MikiMoo

I am currently on the hunt for the perfect chandelier for my new dining room.  We have super high ceilings in there, and its the first room you see when you walk in the door, so it needs to be dramatic.

Do you ever watch Candice Olsen?  The woman has never done a room I didn't love.  Love, love.  She's amazing.  I have told Nathan a million times that if we are ever uber-wealthy I want him to surprise me for my birthday by having Candice Olsen redecorate my entire house.

I want my dining room to look like she did it, so I need a worthy chandelier.  Tell me if you see one.  Especially if it is at Z Gallerie.  I have a gift certificate there.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help Us Help you

Last night I had the first moment of rest that I have had in a long time.
So since my mind is never at rest, I decided to use it to start brainstorming about improving my business in 2011.

Which brings me to the point of this short-but-sweet posting.

For those of you that own a Much Ado About You calendar, I would love to hear your thoughts about using it.

How functional is it for you?
What do you love about it?
What could use improvement?
{Please answer lovingly, but honestly so I don't have to cry myself to sleep.}
Is there anything you would like to see changed about the layout?
Is there anything else you would love to see included?
Would you just like to gush about how perfectly perfect it is???

Let's hear it.  I'm ready.

I made my first calendar because I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for in a layout, so I really desire to make it the best planner on the market.  I really do value your input.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Machines are Protesting

I am sick of my Cricut.
Well... I should say... I am sick of all four of my Cricuts.

Currently not one of them is working correctly, and I am really tired of replacing mats.

So here's what I need from you:

Here's what I don't like about the Cricut:
I don't like having to use mats {although I do realize that I may not be able to get around that}
I don't like having to use cartridges
I don't like that none of my machines are ever working properly:  Right now, one of my machines is not cutting all the way through the paper {even when it is on a 5-5-6 setting}, two of my machines are not ending their cuts where they started, and the fourth machine won't power on
I don't like that if you don't have the settings just exactly right for whatever paper you are using, it tears it to shreds
I don't like that even with the Design Studio software, I can't really manipulate much

Okay, now here is what I do like, and what I am hoping that another machine will also be able to do:
Shadow letters {this is a must for my business}
I like that you can use tiny scraps of paper, and it doesn't have to be 6" or 12" wide
I like that I can do different sizes {but I also wish they could vary a little more, without having to use the software}
I like that I don't have to use my computer to run it {unless I am using the software}
Hmm... I guess that is all that I am really liking about my machines at the moment

So, now I need your input.  Should I try another machine?  What about the Silhouette or the Slice?  Or anyone tried the eCraft machine???  I need any and all opinions here people.  

My machines are used everyday, basically 4 or 5 hours a day. 

They have to be able to cooperate.  

Friday morning I left the office while Jennifer was trying to cut out some letters, and when I can back there was a mat in the machine... letters completely tattered with no clean cuts... abandoned by a frustrated lady.

Help us.  Please.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ignorance Bugs Me

Okay... you know that I like to try to remain non-controversial, but I am just too annoyed to ignore this topic of conversation.

So I was watching The Today Show yesterday and Spike Lee and his wife were being interviewed by Meredith Vieira about some new childrens' book they have authored {scary}.  Anyway, for some reason she asked him what his thoughts on the Arizona shooting were {as if the world was dying to know Spike Lee's opinion about this issue}, and this is what he said.  And I quote:

"As filmmakers, as politicians, as artists, we have to understand that whatever you do goes out there in the universe.  You should be aware of what you're doing.  And you cannot just say, 'Well, I just did this thing and it had nothing to do with what happened.'  That's just not the case.  Also, the United States of America is the most violent country in the history of civilization.  And this NRA thing... we gotta turn this around.  You know, these guns are out of hand and I know they have a very powerful lobby, but something has to be done about gun control in this country.  That's my opinion."

Well, Mr. Lee... here is my opinion.  I think you need to go back to school and take a course on World History, or perhaps even current events.  Not only is the United States not even close to the most violent country in the history of civilization... it is not even the most violent country of the last century.  The last time I checked we did not feed human beings to lions for sport or burn people alive in concentration camps.

Might I suggest brushing up on the following topics:

The Roman Empire
The Vikings
The ancient Assyrians
The Aztecs
Sudan, Somalia or Dafur

There are many more, but I don't want  you to be overwhelmed by your ignorance Mr. Lee.  Please take your own advice and be aware of what you are doing Spike Lee.  It is irresponsible to make such erroneous statements, and spew them as fact.
I really didn't intend for this posting to be a bashing of Spike Lee, but while I was searching for the video of this interview so that I could be absolutely certain to get the quote just right for you all, I came across some fantastic comments on the topic that I thought you would all enjoy.

Please to enjoy:

"Charles Taylor, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Adoph Hitler, Josef Stalin, Robert Mugabe, Saddam Hussein and Caligula all must be relieved to hear this."

"The wonderful thing about freedom of speech is that it enables us to spot the really stupid people without much effort."

"And Spike Lee is the most ignorant man in the history of civilization – and arguably before."

"He ought to stick to making bad movies. His forte is obviously not history."

"This moron needs to be sent – permanently – to one of these “peaceful” countries: Yemen, Somalia, Algeria, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Gaza, Congo, Zimbabwe"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Hair was a big topic of conversation in the office today.  Donna {have I mentioned Donna yet?  she's my most recent hire... our Director of Product Development} is getting her hair cut on Thursday and gave us all homework of finding a cute short do for her.  {If you've got any good suggestions... post a link!  It will make my homework a lot easier.}

Later this afternoon I was going through a million photos trying to pick some for our Adoption Scrapbook and I had to laugh at how many times my hair has changed in the last few years.

There was this do:

And this one, when I had bright red roots... don't ask:

{You may have to make this one bigger to get the full effect.}

This one that should never be attempted again.  Ever.

And then the blunt bang:

Sometimes I embrace the curly:

And then there was the time my hair was orange:

{There is a long story here that involves lots of money and about 14 hours in a Stylist's chair.  I'll save that one for another day.}

This one is my favorite:

Maybe it's just because I love this picture and think the tall, dark and handsome accessory I am using is super sexy.

Lately I have been too busy to blow dry, so I currently {and most often} look like this:

That's kind of a creepy picture.  Sorry.

I think I need a haircut.  

Send me a picture of your favorite do.  Or your don't.  I'll post 'em if anyone is brave enough!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Boxes and Messes and Moving... oh my!

Remind me never to move again.  The next time I move, I want it to be to my mansion in the sky.

Okay, so I realize that it has been almost a month since my last posting... is anybody still out there???  Hello?  {hello... hello... hello... I hear the echo.}

This last month and a half was quite possibly the most overwhelming of my life.  I am beyond tired.

I realized during a late-night breakdown with my mommy {yes, I still need my mommy at 33} why I might possibly feel overwhelmed.

Here's the thing: 

Experiencing the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season {buying gifts, decorating the house, shipping, wrapping, stuffing...} feels overwhelming.

Moving {packing, organizing, purging, unpacking, unpacking, unpacking, re-organizing} feels overwhelming.  {Moving in the rainiest season Southern California has seen in a long time... doubly overwhelming.}

Running a business, and surviving the busy season {filling, tracking, and shipping orders, keeping up with supplies, payroll, and emails, having the highest grossing sales month of all-time} feels overwhelming.

Trying to coordinate an Adoption {finishing paperwork, making a scrapbook, preparing the baby's room} feels overwhelming.

Any one of these things could cause a person to have a bit of a breakdown.
This last month, I have tried to do all four.

This is why you have not heard from me.  

But some sweet friends {thanks Leslie and Lisa} encouraged me this week that they actually missed my frantic ramblings, and I promised to get back on here.  So here I am.  Prepare yourself to hear a bit of grumbling about moving, some excitement about the fact that I am finally almost done with my adoption scrapbook {well, I started it... yay!}, and some random musings about my crazy life.  Oh... and some raving about Francine Rivers and how I wish I could just sit in my new leopard chaise lounge {more about that later} and read her books all day long.

If you are still here... thank you.  I appreciate your patience with me.  Truly.