Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Any Ideas?

I have a big birthday coming up in less than a month and want to finally buy myself an embroidery sewing machine as my prezzie. Don't you just love "to me, from me" presents in life?! I seriously pick out the best gifts for myself! I never have to return them and they are just what I have been dreaming of. Anyhoo...I would love your suggestions. Do you have a machine that you love? Or can't stand because it is difficult to use? Or your best friend's next door neighbor's sister has one that she raves about? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for something that has several fonts and possibly the ability to add more fonts to it. Really I am hoping to monogram a few of my sweaters (how cute will it be on my new Target cable knit sweater!), and burpees and onesies as gifts. I don't really care if it can embroider bears and flowers and stuff. I doubt I would really use that so it is not a selling point for me either way.

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks soooo much in advance!! I can't wait to find my fun new toy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

UGH!

Ugh! Blogger is driving me batty today. It took me hours to upload my pics from my earlier post because blogger was having issues and now I cannot for the life of me add in spaces between certain paragraphs and pictures and stuff. Am I the only one who struggles with this frequently? Why are you being so mean to me today blogger? Why?!

Sweet Sister Swap Part III


As I've mentioned, my Sweet Sister Swap partner Gigi is AMAZING! This is my second swap (though this swap was over the course of several months and in three parts) and both of my swappy buddies have been just incredible! I am a very lucky little crocodile!! So here is the last part of my swap with Gigi. Just too much fun!!

So I sent her this collection of goodies including a sparkley red zipper pouch with a few of my favorite and super easy recipes, wine glass name tags (thrifted), a copper mold (also thrifted. Look how good I am getting at thrifting, Cindy!), snowman measuring cups, gingerbread man sprinkles, fun soap from Hawaii, a corn toasty (made by me) and my favorite was the cute elf stocking. The stocking is red with white polka dots and yellow grosgrain ribbon ruffles on the outside and white quilted on the inside.




And since we were about a month behind schedule for mailing our gifts (due to me being oot and my sewing machine quitting on me. Gigi was so sweet and patient!), her last swap to me was more Valentine's themed. Soooo cute! She wraps everything with such beautiful detail. I am a wrapper- I think wrapping presents is the best part of giving presents. So I truly appreciate when someone goes over the top to wrap my presents. Almost too pretty to open. Almost.

This adorable package included a cone shaped bag of gumballs, colorful measuring cups, a cute pink with hearts bag with some yummy recipes, a chocolate bar that she wrapped with her own label customized just for me, an always useful wooden spoon, a cupcake kitchen towel that matches perfectly with my Sadie Kate's new placemat (for under her food and water dishes in the kitchen), and then the two items that literally had me squeal out loud.






The first squeal came when I unwrapped the adorable brown with cherries apron. I believe she made this from a kitchen tea towel and I love LOVE LOVE it!! I love it!!! It is nice and wide and has both a ruffle and rick rack and I love it. I adore aprons and used them all the time. I put this on as soon as I opened it and put it back on when I was finished taking the picture. What a brilliant idea to turn a cute towel into an apron! Did I mention I love it? I do!


Then my second audible squeal came when I opened my last prezzie. It's this little cup (that also included peppermint sprinkles). It is cute and little but it has crocodiles (or alligators depending on your blog name) and it is filled with water and sweethearts and glitter. It's just so cute and fun! Sometimes it's the cute little things that make you smile the brightest in life!


Thank you for an amazing swap Gigi! I look foreword to staying in touch and seeing all of your inspiring craftiness in the future!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bridesmaid Bags

A few days after Christmas '07 I was the Maid of Honor for the wedding of my childhood best friend in Florida. She is more like a sister and her family is my Florida family. I have always called her aunts and uncles Aunt Soandso... I was truly honored to be the MOH- even if it was my third time MOH-ing (The first was bestie- I should do a blog on how that even happened one day. Funny story. And the second was Little in Hawaii a month before.). When I get more pictures from the wedding week, I will be sure to share them and more stories. It was a fantastic week with friends and family!

But I was so busy in the fall that I forgot to post pictures of the bags the bride ordered as bridesmaid gifts. Super cute. This is one of the first two bags I designed years ago and is the bride's namesake. Chocolate brown fabric on the outside and a light canvas print of green, brown and cream paisley on the inside. Chocolate brown grosgrain ribbon on the outside too. My favorite was the mini bag for the flower girl. Nothing fancy but the bride wanted something that coordinate with her wedding colors (that same green and cream) but could be used with jeans and flats in the future.




I just got home from my big monthly sorority meeting and all went well. That's the thing though. The girls I meet with regularly are super motivated, bright, sweet, active and follow rules. I love them. They are adorable and totally brighten my day. Working with them is truly a pleasure. (Y'all must be dying of shock about now because I am usually only bitching about my sorority girls!) And so many of the girls in the chapter are awesome. It's just that select few who just bring it all down. Ugh! Why do some people have to make life so difficult. Being in a sorority should teach you to be part of a team, not a sense of snotty entitlement. Today's meeting was nice though so I am trying to focus on that. Focus on the positive!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Out of Practice

I am sitting here slowly sipping a diet coke (my first in more than a week- I have been really good about cutting down so far in 2008!), reading blogs and watching Garth Brooks on CBS because I have some sort of stomach bug. Try not to be jealous of my truly exciting Friday night. But who am I kidding? It's cold outside and staying in is just more appealing, bug or no bug. Anyway, I used to be a big Garth fan. My musical taste runs the gamut but Garth is just a classic. Always good- no always great. But...um...either it is because this is filmed at a live event or because he has been hiding out for the last many years and is out of practice ....he just doesn't seen to be as good. I'm guessing it's the out of practice thing. Don't get me wrong, I still think his songs are awesome. I just think he should either get back to touring shape or really retire. It annoys the heck out of me when singers "retire" every few years. I don't know why, it just does. Personally I vote to get back into touring shape and cut another album.

There is clearly no real point to this post other than to tell you that Mr.Brooks still plays great music but needs to practice singing more before he goes on National TV for a two hour time block.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Turn That Frown Upside Down

After frustrating conversations with a girl who is crazy disrespectful and ungrateful for all I am trying to do for her that is above and beyond what she deserves and qualifies for, I ran over to Target. I was just ready to scream after dealing with all that sorority mumbo jumbo and needed a break. Now I am a little bitter with Target at the moment as they have been teasing me for weeks now with cute shorts and bathing suits. It is only January Target and we reside in Upstate NY. Maybe those FL, CA or TX folks can dream of bikinis and flip flops but winter will likely hang around my town for several more months. Or until like April or May to be realistic. It's not fair to tease me with things I cannot have. But while I feel my friend Target is being cruel, they are also making me love them for showing me pretty colors. I am just not at all a fan of drab "winter" colors. I don't wear maroon and hunter green. I have nothing against them- they just don't feel like me. Oh I might be shoveling snow but I am wearing pinks and greens and bright colors. I don't care if they are not seasonal colors- they make me happy.


But Target delivered big today. They have the most darling cotton cable knit sweaters in the yummiest colors for only $19.99. I will be back for sure to buy several other colors but today I branched out a bit and went with this pretty pretty aqua blue.



This cardigan in black and another in yellow with a pink/blue argyle print. I wear cardigans buttoned up as shirts and as a sweater and tied around my neck. They are a staple in my wardrobe and these are all on sale for $8.48. Can't beat that!



And this cute pink stripe top (light weight sweater) that was also on sale for $8.48! Totally wearing this tomorrow with jeans!



Oh sure, I still have to deal with little miss ungratefully rude. But right now I am super excited about my cutie tops. I have the hardest time finding tops that fit and flatter so this was a BIG find for me today. Woo-hoo! Gotta love that Tar-jay!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

O How Cute!

While searching for something to keep me entertained while working my way through a huge stack of ironing the other day I stumbled upon the cutest new show. On a channel I never watch- mainly because even a 1/2 second glimpse of an abused dog or kitty or donkey or whatever sends me into a fit and an extended "ugly" cry. Ugh- I can't stand to see that stuff and don't understand in the least why they put those horrid shows on the air. But I digress.... Perhaps the Animal Planet realizes that they need shows that don't make me sob and they created the cutest little show all about Orangutans. Now I am not like a super uber animal person. I love LOVE dogs but really beyond that I have no desire to momma other species of animals. But this show is just too cute. All of the Orangutans have such darling and distinctive personalities. It's like Real World really but without all the sluttyness. And since there is nothing else to watch with this writer's strike....I am now officially a big Orangutan Island Fan!

But my city is cold and I have spent many hours lately flipping for something to keep me occupied. And I have really come up with more questions than answers. For example...

Who is Kim Kardashian (spl?) and why does she have a TV show?

Why does Kim Kardashian's mother dress like a hooker when she seems to have the funds for both a proper top and bottom to be worn at the same time?

Why do those parents let their young daughters take turns playing on a stripper pole?

What is the Hollywood obsession with stripper poles and general trashiness?

Why doesn't Britney at least brush that mop of hair on her head?

Why is Donny Osmond still making me listen to him on Entertainment Tonight? Marie is no longer on DWTS and surely you must have a life somewhere doing something, right?

Am I the only one who finds Tom Cruise to be scary? Not annoying- I mean wifebeater scary!

Do the "Real Housewives of Orange County" talk about anything other than money? I am pretty sure at least three of them would sell their offspring for bigger houses.

How exciting is it that there is a new Real World/Road Rule Challenge coming up? I have not watched either RW or RR is probably eight plus years but I love the challenge. Or really I just love to see that there are people on the challenge that I still recognize. They are that old and still trying to squeak out a living from a cable show they were on ten years ago. I hope Beth is back. Real World #1 representing! Love it!

Does Flavor Flave not own a watch? That clock necklace thing seems cumbersome.

Does Britney own and know how to use a coffee maker? It's not all that difficult to learn. It would save her a lot of Starbucks change to just make it at home. I challenge the little train wreck to stay off my TV screen for just one day to see if the world implodes from lack of up-to-the-minute updates of her life spiral.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sweet Sister Swap Part II

Holy Guacamole! Gigi is A M A Z I N G!!! Her "Tags and Swags" swap package was the most incredible present ever. EVER! Her talents are endless. I could smell both the tags and the swag the moment I started opening the box- yummmmmy!


Look at her box- it was awesome before it even began. And then, a note warning me to open with care. I was so nervous as I had no idea what it was but knew it smelled good enough to eat. She made these tags using (I think) royal icing on card stock. Brilliant! That never occurred to me before but the result was stunning. You must have a very steady hand Miss Gigi. The tags were a hit with my family at Christmas too. Although I must admit I was very very selective as to who and what gift was given one of those special tags. They were for adults only as I knew the kids could care less. I was a little bit of a tag hoarder- I just love LOVE them soooo much!




I next opened the other fun goodies such as a personalized tag full of fun fall ribbon and strings, cookie cutters and my new favorite lippy in Twizzlers flavor. Mmmm! I saved what turned out to be my swag last. Talk about saving the best for last. Look- just look! A breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely delicious tasting swag of gingerbread cookies! So detailed and just divine! I tried hanging it up for the entire season but truth be told, gingerbread is a personal favorite and well....it was just too yummy to make it un-touched through Christmas. And I reasoned that it would likely not all stay in-tact if I attempted to save the cookie swag. I just cannot tell you though how much I adored this gift- it was more special that I could have ever imagined!! Thanks Gigi!!



So in return, I sent her this very belated package. The swap was supposed to last a total of three months but due to my overwhelming to do list before I left for Hawaii (and then again after I returned from Hawaii) and a sewing machine that stopped working and the purchase of not one but TWO new sewing machines that were both duds (both Singer with Martha's mug shot on them- ugh- will never buy Singer again- soooo disappointing!)...our swap only just ended this week. I seriously have the sweetest and nicest swap sister in the world for being so patient with me.


While I think my goodies were fun to give, nothing compares to my royal icing tags and cookie swag. But hopefully she enjoyed it anyway. Since we were both late in sending and since she doesn't really decorate much for fall, her gift was pretty much all Christmas. The only exception was a set of note cards in fall-ish colors and a little set of cheese spreaders. The tags were holiday fabric on one side and card stock on the other- sewn with a zig zag stitch and a ribbon to tie. The swag was my favorite part and something I have played with for other projects on a much smaller scale. She said it was her favorite part too- I love the way she described it- very Dr. Seuss. It totally is very Seuss-tastic! I also loved it rolled up and thought if she didn't like/need it as a swag it might look cute in a glass as a table decoration.




I opened my last swappy goodness package yesterday and literally screamed with glee at seeing two of the gifties inside. Will share that with you very soon...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm addicted to....

Do y'all have this brand in your grocery stores or is it restricted to those of us in the Northeast? I am addicted to these Adirondack Seltzer waters. Raspberry Lime is my current obsession but I'll drink any flavor really. As Martha says, it's a good thing! Mmmmmm good! Not to mention calorie, fat, sodium, carb and sugar free. Yum-o!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Very Belated Hawaii Update


Wow, I have been away from blogging for the better part of two months. I have no idea how that happened but I am sorry to the four people who enjoy reading my ramblings. I have been gone so long that some more of my favs have gone private and I have been left out in the dust again. Perfectly Plump Preppy, please say it ain't so!

(View from my cabana the first day. Ahhhh!)


OK, I have a dozen things to talk about but before I forget again, let me fill you in on my fabu Hawaiian vaca in November...

(Lush and green!)


I went because I was the Maid of Honor (time #2) for my sorority little sister and very close friend, Little. She was working at a horrible job over in Hawaii and of course....met a boy. They fell in love and although she quit the job and left Hawaii, moved back to be with him. Love will do that to a girl! And I must say that after meeting him, I agree that they are a perfect match for each other. Two cutie southern kids meeting via Match.com in Hawaii - their one day kids will love that story for sure!

(I love my new camera!)


I must say, that was the LONGEST flight of my life! I don't know if I would do that again. I got up and walked as much as possible (and since I didn't sleep a wink, I felt like I was up a LOT) but my legs swelled up anyway. I have never experienced that before and it was miserable. I could hardly walk by the time we got to the resort. My left leg, knee and foot never fully went down the entire time I was in HI. I wore short heels to the rehearsal dinner and both legs swelled up again. So that was a little dark cloud over the week for me because I was actually in a fair amount of pain. But other than not being able to walk well (highly over-rated....right?!), it was a fantastic week with a fun group of southerners. There were close to 20 of us on the flight from Hotlanta to HI. Very fun!

(A toast in matching sorority t-shits. We're big cheese balls!)

The wedding was held at the Mauna Lani Resort on The Big Island- BEAUTIFUL! I shared a room with two of our sorority sisters. Everything was just breathtaking- especially our view of the ocean! There were lots of walking paths throughout the resort and the three of us made sure to wake up early, eat a yummy tropical breakfast and take our camera as we walked for about an hour or so. The scenery was just stunning. Especially for a little snow bunny like me who came from the cold and grey Upstate NY. Oh that warm sunshine was just heaven!




(The beautiful setting for the Bridal Lunch. Not sure why, but she had a bridal and not a bridesmaid luncheon. It was my favorite meal of the trip though so who cares!)

(The amazing desert at the Bridal lunch- three types of the most delish sorbet in an almond sugar bowl on a bed of fresh whipped cream. Oh yes- it was even more delish in person. I ate the whole thing!)



I was surprised to see how many different climates were located on one fairly small island. The resort was of course lush and beautiful but outside of the resort was just miles and miles of this crumbled up lava rock. To me it seemed so prehistoric looking and I half expected to see a brontosaurus walking across the rocks. Not really my definition of beautiful but it was interesting for sure. I feel the same about the desert- just not my thing. But the further north we went, the more lush and green our surroundings became. It was wild to see such landscape diversity every 20 minutes.





(Can you see that brown part in the ocean? That's where part of the island fell off into the ocean. It just fell off!)


One of the first afternoons in Hawaii, a large group of us went on a tour that started at our resort and lead us up to Mauna Kea. It took several hours on tiny and sometimes unpaved roads to make it up to the top of the mountain. And as we were about to make our final jaunt up to the peak, the park rangers closed the roads. It was unsafe because it was SNOWING. Thank goodness the travel tour provided us with parkas and gloves! After dinner, the roads were open again allowing us just enough time to make it to the peak to see the sunset. Breathtaking! This is one of the top observatories in the world and it was truly amazing. After the sun set and the temps dropped even lower, we drove down the mountain a few miles to a spot that was clear enough for our guides to bring out their two high powered telescopes. We saw planets and constellations and the highlight for me was viewing the moon. Now normally I could really care less about this astronomy stuff. I have a lot of interests and many soap-box topics but looking into space has never been one of them. Beyond those glow-in-the-dark stars you stick to your ceiling when you are eight, I am just not a star gazer kind of girl I guess. Of the six or so things we looked at, I could only actually find 5 in the telescope. And there were about four shooting stars that lit up the sky as we were standing out there looking up and listening to our great guides and do you know that I didn't see a single one. To this day I have yet to see a shooting star! But the moon....well that was just about the most stunning sight I have ever seen. I was near tears and got back in line for a second look because I was so mesmerized. It was so detailed and I was really just in awe! A cup of hot cocoa and we were ready to head back down to our resort. And that warm ocean breeze. It was really strange to be so hot that morning and so cold that afternoon. A little trippy but totally awesome!

(Observatories that draw scientists from all over the planet.)

(Sunset from the top of Mauna Kea)

Little's house was up towards the mountains. The girls and I took a day to drive along the coastline up into a variety of small villages with cute shops. OMG we had THE BEST Mexican meal ever that day with a margarita that was to die for! It was made with two native fruits that I never figured out how to pronounce and it was like a giant glass of YUM-O! That night was actually a cocktail party up at Little and Groom's cutie cottage in the mountains. So we headed there early to help set up and to get some more time with the bride and groom before the crowds arrived. We could clearly see the observatory from their backyard. After the cocktail party was a dinner event at the couple's favorite restaurant (where they became engaged actually).

There was not a ton of beach time on this vacation as it was a "working gig" being in the wedding party. But all of the events were beautiful and the settings were more amazing each day!

(Little Bride's hair with fresh orchids. Sooo pretty!)

(Little Bride's bouquet)


It was a really fun time with both new and old friends. Both families were Southern so there was a lot of good ole southern flair to be heard and fun had by all. I borrowed a pair of special circulation socks for the flight back to the mainland and they did help some. But I really didn't get my legs back to normal until about week after I was back home in NY. Very uncomfortable and strange. A small price to pay for a week in paradise I suppose!

(Trunk show at Bestie's house. I can't believe I shipped that much stuff.)





(The base fell apart so we stuck it in a martini glass. Looks adorable I think!)


Since my flight went through Atlanta, I planned a second little vaca in GA with my bestie. This was an equally fabulous part of my adventure. We went to the GA/Ga Tech game with friends, held a trunk show together at her house and just hung out and shopped. It made me really want to live close to her and her hub and my other Ga pals again. While the political atmosphere is less than ideal for me, I miss my friends and the mild weather that they get down south. And the food. And the great shopping. And dog parks. And sweet tea. And Coke (not Pepsi) offered everywhere. And the accent. And most of all....bestie! It was the perfect ending to my big vacation. I miss you, Bestie!!

(Bestie, Me and P at the very chilly but very fun UGA/Ga Tech game 2007)


The update is that Little and Groom moved last week from far away Hawaii to Las Vegas. Yippee! I am so excited to have her closer. And she is thrilled to have modern conveniences like affordable groceries and Target. I can't wait to take my first trip out to Vegas to visit them soon!

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