Monday, December 31, 2012

{Review} Influenster Holiday VoxBox

I signed up for Influenster late in 2012 and was chosen to receive a complimentary Holiday VoxBox of goodies to checkout and review with you. So... I'm going to give very honest evals on each product.

1)  Quaker Real Medleys Cherry Pistachio Oatmeal
NOTES: I am not an oatmeal fan. However, read on.
PROS:  Take only 45 - 60 seconds in the microwave. Just add water and zap. Love the handy bowl, making this easy to eat at work. Tastes really good. I have since went out and bough 8 more, picking up all flavors (Summer Berry, Peach Almond, and Apple Walnut).  All have tasted great. I did add a little more water and zap a bit longer. But it keeps me full for HOURS and tastes really good!  In my grocery store for $1.79, which is cheaper than my usual McDonald's run and healthier, too!
Cons:  I haven't found any. It took me a few tries to get the water where I wanted it, but seriously, I love this stuff.
BOTTOM LINE: I'm buying more and gobbling it up!

2)  Goody QuickStyle Brush
NOTES: I am not a hair diva.
PROS:  I really think this brush reduces the dry-time for my hair! I have super thick hair and I feel this shortened my time frying my head with a blow dryer! Awesome! The blue you see at the left are microfiber bristles that absorb water from your hair as you brush it. I feel the wide-spaced normal bristles also allow more air to circulate, speeding up the drying time, too. The microfiber bristles fluffed back up well with just a tap to the back of the brush.
CONS: This brush is large and I found it difficult to style my hair like normal with it.  I wanted to curl it under but my hair is too short with this large of a brush. After visiting their website, I see they have a smaller half-round brush that I believe would work better for me.
BOTTOM LINE:  I'm actually considering spending the $11+ on the smaller brush because I do find it beneficial!

3)  NYC New York Color Liquid Lipshine 
NOTES:  Gave this to my sister after trying it myself. Too sticky for me! This is more her style, she loves lip gloss.
PROS:  According to sister, easy to put on. And I have to agree. The color was beautiful in the tube - I was very excited when I first saw it because I thought it was lipstick and I was gaga for the color!
CONS:  According to sister, the color wasn't there once you applied (and I totally agree).  And it disappeared too quickly.  I say too sticky, but she didn't mind that part.
BOTTOM LINE: While we appreciate the opportunity to try it, we wouldn't buy it again.

4)  Kiss Nail Dress
NOTES: Gave this to my 10-year-old niece
PROS:  So easy the 10-year-old could figure it out and do it all by herself. Even with her bitten-off fingernails, they seemed to stick well.  Seven days later, when I took this picture, they were holding up pretty good (considering she wasn't going easy on them, if you know what I mean!)
CONS: Just not my style. But she loved them. I could have wrapped them up as a present and she would have adored it!
BOTTOM LINE: I won't buy but not because of any problem with the product, just personal preference.

5)  EBOOST - flavor, Pink Lemonade
PROS:  Maybe the convenient small carry-sized pouch. I was excited at the thoughts of getting an energy boost from it.
CONS:  I love pink lemonade and I use several types of drink additives but I didn't enjoy this. The bubbling water made a froth on top and the taste wasn't enjoyable. I will admit to eating a chocolate kiss just before drinking and thought maybe that was the problem. However, I usually do have food with drink, so I need the two to "get along."
BOTTOM LINE:  Not purchasing again.

6)  Coupon to
NOTES: I'm totally not a shoe diva.
I did go online and check out their shoes.  I think it was so nice of them to include $25 off!!! I never wear fancy shoes, though, so I'll stick to my YellowBox flip flops and whatever "warm" shoes I can find in the winter. :)

If you think you'd like to join Influenster, just drop me a line and let me know. I'd be glad to send you an invite.  I've enjoyed posting reviews of products I already know about, answering questions online and receiving this first box in the mail.  :)

Muffin Monday Wraps Up The Year

How else would you like to finish up your year than with with Muffin? That's what I thought, too.

Muffin found a nice cuddle cave between the layers of my blanket. I'm not sure if she wanted warmth or darkness, but she stayed there most of the day.

Muffin enjoyed the holidays, tried to open half the presents, loved all the ribbon...but we are both looking forward to life getting back to normal.

Hope you have a great ending to 2012 tonight! And I hope tomorrow is a wonderful beginning to 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday's Letter

One of my favorite pictures of the year!

Dear 2012, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on how this year has turned out.  I perused my former blog posts to help me, so here goes nothing.

Dear January, the Sock Hop went better than I imagined and is the number one hit page out of my blog. Everyone wants to know how to do a sock hop and I hope my work helps them. I chose Breathe as my word for 2012 but honestly, it didn't work out too well.  And I introduced everyone to my Prayer Peeps, who are awesome.

Dear February, the month of sickness. Let's not talk about it.

Dear March, thank you for finally revealing the gender of my sweet niece! We waited forever, but found out just in time for my sister's first baby shower.

Dear April, Of course, once we discovered the gender, mom and I set about doing the nursery! Sweet pinks and greens... getting ready for baby.  Also had a bit of drama at a performing art center, but it was resolved quite nicely!

Dear May, Katie had another baby shower and Mom received the honors at her retirement dinner!

Dear June, Ahhh... June! You brought me my sweet baby niece, Macy! *sniff sniff* Several posts were dedicated to her. My other sweet niece, AH, put on quite a show! 

Dear July, We celebrated several firsts, including my first Friday's Letter and my first installment of 30 Things on Thursday.

Dear August, I finally followed my dreams and took a step out of my comfort zone - and opened Pressed Clovers on Etsy!  It was scary, crazy timing just before a Presidential election and it was WONDERFUL.

Dear September, My birth month! You can still make my birthday wish come true! And... I gave you a behind the scenes look at scrapbooking Beth-style.

Dear October, you brought about some tough days.  I still believe we are tougher, but only through God's strength.

Dear November,  Thankfully, the election ended.  And I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Macy's Baptism within four days of each other. Ack!

Dear December, you have brought about happiness. Dad's last treatment *thank you for your prayers!*  and Christmas. And I LOVE Christmas!

Dear 2013, I do hope for a more serene and peaceful year, if possible.  That would be lovely.



PS.  Linking up today! (Monday! 12/31)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas in Review.

So you may or may not realize I have no internet access at my house outside of my phone. When I take pictures with a real camera, I have to wait until I come to work to place these pics into a blog for you. Tragic, I know.  You've been waiting for my Christmas pictures.

Wait no longer, they are here.

We have several aunts, uncles, and cousins over to my mom's house on Christmas Eve for some tasty Christmas lunch and a gift swap.  It began with only 10 of us and as we've married, had kids, etc it's grown to about 20 or so.  Sometimes more, sometimes less... Anyway, enjoy some pics of that event!

This gift swap is always the most fun, with such a random assortment of gifts.  The lady in white above, my aunt, always gets the crazy gifts my brother puts in and it never matches up to her personality. Such as the light up Playboy Bunny logo. Or the Pussycats "get in shape" video by learning to pole dance. It never fails. She always gets his gift.

Moving on to Christmas morning... my brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, niece AH, niece Macy, aunt Linda and my parents and I were all together at about 7:30 that morning.  I have no idea when AH woke her family up but I feel like it was pretty early! hee hee... I woke up crazy early, but enjoyed a hot bath with the lights from my tree twinkling in the living room. It was so nice and peaceful.  I ended it in the same way. Sometimes living alone has major perks!

 Sister-in-law and brother

 Macy after a Christmas morning nap

 Pop's ornament this year, featuring an Allis Chalmers tractor. 

 Sister and Brother-in-law.  He got a West Virginia beer glass. Can you tell he's a WV fan?

 Aunt Linda with the present we gave her - cats with magnetic clothes!
What more could a person want than cats with clothes? 

 Dad opening his green bowl from AH.  They have a fight over the only green pottery dessert dish in the house... so she bought another so that they have two!

 My niece, AH, being so like herself.  She's propped up on her present that she was DYING to open... it was a game chair!

 Mom and her palmetto dish - so pretty!

 AH and her new purse!

Sister-in-law and brother. We all get new ornaments every year. :) 

We had a GREAT Christmas.  A little stressed with the concerns over dad (his last treatment was yesterday and that went fairly well).  Angela, my sister-in-law, had several family health concerns that weighed heavily on all of us.  We've noticed how many people have passed this holiday season, it's just odd.  We think the world should be happy and healthy during Christmas, but that isn't how life works, now is it?  But we were all together, we had a great time just enjoying our family and that night I told God how incredibly thankful I am for the many blessings given to me. This family being one HUGE blessing. 

Hope your holidays were as merry as mine... for all the right reasons. :) I've been enjoying your holiday posts, hope to see some more soon! :)   

Thirty Things on Thursday - Questions 25, 26, 27.

I've been working my way through these thirty questions on Thursdays (hence the 30 Things tag).  It was part of a blog somewhere at some time.  I'm down to six questions... three of those are today.

25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?

If I could have dinner with anyone in history, it would have to be my grandmother on my dad's side.  She passed before I had the chance to meet her, but I know I see pieces of her in all of my aunts and uncles.  I'd ask her to cook up a meal, because I hear she was one heck of a cook - good ol' Southern food! YUM!

I think our society is so afraid of having an opinion that may not agree with every single person in the world.  We are so afraid to offend someone so we bend our own beliefs.  I'm baffled by this.  I may not believe like you do, I may not agree with you, but that doesn't mean I can't be your friend or respect you as a person.  So odd to me that we can't seem to get along unless we are identical in all ways.  How boring is that?

Ugh. Hmm... I guess I like my eyes. They are a prettyish green.  They are a prettier color when I cry, but then my nose is red. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quiet Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I woke up at 5 something like I have been doing lately. Muffin crawled up on me and started purring, so sweet like! When I finally rolled out of bred, I kicked back in a hot bath before heading to mom and dad's. Having some down time before more presents has been a blessing. I was pretty wiped out on wrapping presents and trying to make my house look perfect and charging camera batteries and just letting stress rule my life and ruin my happiness.

This morning, when I woke up, I thought, a baby was born today. I imagine Mary was stressed, traveling pregnant on a donkey, couldn't find a decent room, giving birth around a bunch of smell animals. Or maybe she listening to God and had faith He would take care and this precious baby boy.

I'm so happy to have this quiet morning to refocus and remember this little baby boy. God is good.

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you feel the peace given to us through a Christmas miracle!
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Random Goodness

I'm bubbling over with good things, so much to be giddy over! First, I've made my very first sale to a perfect stranger on Pressed Clovers! I'm so touched and honored she chose me for her little boy's Santa memories. :) It tickles me pink to be part of her cherished memories! (I'm squealing with excitement!)

Second, I was chosen to be part of Influenster's Holiday Voxbox, which came this weekend. I'll be sharing my review with you very soon...I'm impressed! And all giggly about receiving my first box to review from them.

Third, Macy visited Santa and let me just say, she is the most adorable child. Ever. Look at these two pictures and admit you've never seen anything so adorable.

I know, she is so stinkin' cute. A happy social baby, she had no problem with the jolly old man holding her.

Last...I made a blackberry pound cake. I'll be flipping it over any moment. Crossing my fingers that it will turn out well. I'll let you know.

Life is good, peeps! I'm hoping the trend continues into 2013. Please remember dad's last treatment is the day after Christmas. We appreciate all prayers and good thoughts!

If I don't have a chance to write tomorrow, ya'll have a wonderful Christmas! :)
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Joy! to the world!

Find this awesome gift here

I spent time this morning re-reading my letter from Friday.  And I was pretty down about Christmas. Not that I'm retracting this - nope, because I do believe gift-giving has gotten so out-of-hand that the focus is completely shifted to the materialistic aspect of the holiday and not the true meaning of CHRISTmas.  Add to this the sadness of unhappy events, like Sandy Hook, my family stresses, etc etc and Christmas can turn into one giant stressball.

But, I am taking a moment to shout in my head, "JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD IS COME!"  Joy!!! Joy joy joy! God shared His sweet baby boy with us to give us a path into heaven to be with Him! How totally joyous is that! It's amazing. Wonderful. Awesome.

So today, I'm wrapping up my wrapping (HAHAH! ... sorry), I am cleaning up the mess that all this wrapping has created, I may do some baking and I'm going to savor the holidays.  Stressball, be gone with you.  You aren't what the holidays are all about.

And Heaven and Nature Sing...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday's Letter

Dear sweet niece Macy, you are so dang adorable! I'm looking forward to seeing you celebrate your first Christmas. Enjoy the diapers I'm giving you. :)  Dear Sister, I hope you loved your birthday weekend - welcome to "old age" at 32!  Dear Daddy, I'm so very thankful your treatment went better this time.  And to everyone keeping him in your prayers, thank you!!! Please pray the day after Christmas will be just as easy - and will be his last one! Dear Melissa, I miss you bunches and am so thankful we had lunch this week! LOVE my Hello Kitty Chia Pet - you rock! :), I'm SO EXCITED that I've been chosen for a Holiday VoxBox. My first box!!! Can't wait to review it. (Yes I know half the world was chosen, but who cares! I'm excited!)

Dear Donna & Ellie, I'm so glad ya'll came over for the yearly visit with mom. She really enjoys seeing how much Ellie has grown and how smart she is! It cracks me up when Ellie acts like Muffin. HAHA.  Dear Pressed Clover Customer, You are my first customer who doesn't know me - who I honestly believe is going to purchase a book!! I'm working hard to finish it before Monday!  Dear Christmas, I just don't feel like it's Christmas. I think somewhere along the line, our priorities as a society got out of whack and we are missing the point.  I apologize for that, because I know I'm guilty of this, too.  I wish we would have bypassed all the gifts and focused instead on this miracle of this beautiful birth, this gift from God Himself of his only child, and marveled at how amazingly wonderful this gift truly is to us.  I wish we would have focused on enjoying time together instead of what gift we are receiving.  Maybe we can spend 2013 remembering this each day so that Christmas doesn't run away with us again.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three of the 30 Things on Thursday...

I'll do three for the next Three Thursdays, and then I'm done! Yippee!

22)  Where you do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23)  List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24)  Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs your family dynamic now.

WELL... in five years I'll be 42, then 47, then 52.  Well that's enough to scare the poop out of me, thanks for that.  I'm not a career-minded girl. I never set out to make a name for myself in the XYZ field so placing myself in the years ahead is tough. When asked that question before, I figured I'd be married with kids and have the perfect little family life.  Obviously it didn't happen that way, so ... you know, I'm not going to set expectations on my future.  I'll just be surprised as it unfolds.

My hobbies:  scrapbooking for Pressed Clovers; random crafts; collecting pottery; blogging; taking random pictures.  Why do I love them?  I'm addicted to memories, I believe. I love giving people an outlet to preserve their cherished photos in books, I love taking pictures to capture memories, and blogging does much of the same thing.  Crafts and pottery are just creative outlets, I suppose.  -- I lost a friend much too young and I am so thankful for all the pictures I had of the good times, so I think it's influenced me to always have a camera nearby.  Granted, I've been a shutterbug since middle school. :)

My family is awesome. AWESOME. Growing up I didn't really see my parents fight, they must have done that behind closed doors.  They were firm and strict with us, we grew up in a Christian household and felt safe and loved.  Today I'm very close to my parents and enjoy them as friends as well as parents.  My siblings and I also get along very well and I'm so thankful for that.  My family is one of my very best blessings. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Memorial Monday

This is all over Facebook, The Elf on the Shelf
honoring the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary.

I know, today is Muffin Monday and I usually post an adorable picture of my sweet kitten for the world to see.

But today, I just don't have it in me.  For whatever reason, it's like I have a delayed reaction to the Sandy Hook sadness.  I didn't see much of it this weekend until last night and this morning.  And now, it's like a heaviness sitting on my chest - a sadness smothering me. I can't imagine those families, how they'll endure Christmas, how they will be strong for their other children, how they are even breathing at this point.  Beyond our understanding... so ... sad.  And that is so inadequate of a description.

Things that give hope in this bleakness - the #20things / #26things aspect of paying goodness forward (although I believe it should be #27things and include the mother, who was also an innocent victim).  Already Twitter is alight with the good deeds people are doing in honor of those lost in this tragic event.  Honestly, we should be doing good deeds anyway, paying goodness forward because it's the right thing to do.  Showing love and spreading joy.  But it's so touching to see people going out and deliberately doing good in honor of those lost. The impact of their lives are like ripples across this nation, setting off good deeds from coast to coast.

Conversations need to be had but not today. I'm sick of hearing people scream from both sides of the spectrum.  Give it a rest today. Let's honor the people we no longer have with us today, honor those who were so brave in the face of evil, honor those who carry images with them they'll never forget.  And let's have a moment to mourn as a nation for the loss of innocence on so very many levels.

I'm looking to God, asking for Him to provide comfort, hope, peace, and love during this time.  I'm counting my blessings and hugging my nieces. I'm doing my best to focus on the good in this nation.  The sadness is easily overwhelming but there is good, too. Lord, I believe You can bring together good in any situation, so I choose to look for the good.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Shopping

Oh my gosh I am worn out. Shopping with an energetic 10-year-old can really do a person in. W shopped, made ornaments, made soap, wrapped a few presents, celebrated my sister's birthday and ended up trashing my house. Cleaning is just going to have to wait until tomorrow...

Being with a child all day, I'm way behind on what they have learned from Conn. We wouldn't turn it on around her, she had no need to add this fear to her plate. But I do feel very out of touch with what is going on. So sad, so senseless.

Tomorrow is church, family reunion, then play time with my friend, Sara. We are making ornaments for her first tree!

For tonight, I'm off to pray and sleep. Sweet dreams, my imaginary friends, sweet dreams. :)
posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Christmas, I'm really excited about you this year! Not so much last year, but my priorities weren't in the proper order.  This year, I appreciate you so much more for the right reasons. Dear Heat in my Office, please please please unfreeze and kick back in! This is day two of cccooolllddd temps indoors and it's killing me. (I wore flip flops today! ACK!)

Dear Creative Juices, I'm excited about these new Christmas ornaments!!  So easy, so fun, YAY! I learned all about them from The Ornament Girl's Blog, found here.  Other tutorials, too!  Dear Cancer, you suck. Just an FYI. Dear People Who Pray, thank you.  Your prayers have meant the world... God is listening! Dear God, thanks for that awesome display last night.  I felt so close to you praying underneath a sky of falling stars, like you were shouting for joy as I spoke. And I also know you've got this in your hands.

Dear Etsy,  I love you coolness.  And I love the awesome shop owners with their neat-o ideas, customized orders and FREE GIFTS!  *sigh* How wonderful is that??  Check out the store of my most recent purchase (this takes you to her sold items since she's on vacation right now... you can get an idea of her awesomeness).  Dear readers, Thanks for swinging by and checking the blog out... feel free to say HAY!  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tag... You're It!

Holiday Tag!  The super creative Laura over at Mouse in the Kitchen invited me to join the game of Holiday Tag.  I love Christmas so I'm totally excited about joining this game!  Basically, answer the five questions and then run for home base tag five other bloggers you'd like to know more about their holidays traditions.

I'm very excited and would love to hear how ya'll celebrate Christmas. Especially if you know traditions outside of the norm, as I'd love to share them with my niece (how Christmas is celebrated around the world).  I think it would be educational and fun. :)  So if you aren't tagged, feel free to play along anyway.

SO:  Let me start with the questions.

1)  What makes Christmas such a special holiday for you and your family.  Even as a child I understood Christmas was about the birth of Jesus.  We did have Santa, but we knew this baby was a miracle sent from heaven and that was the real celebration.  Christmas is my favorite because I love the music, the joy and happiness, people's feeling of giving to others... it's beautiful. And I love being with my family.

2) Were you told the truth about Santa Claus by your parents or did you find out another way? you plan on lying to your kids (if you have them or plan on having them)?  I'm pretty sure my brother spilled the beans on this one. I think he said something to the effect of, "You know mom and dad bring the presents down out of the attic, right?"  Obviously, I wasn't devastated by this news.  I do play Santa with Muffin, but I don't think she cares if Santa is real or not, as long as her gifts include wet food by Whiskas.

3) Real tree or fake tree?  Growing up we ALWAYS had a real tree. Sometimes cut down from the woods behind the house, sometimes from a tree farm (just depending on the money situation at that time.)  Now, I'm all about fake. I do miss the smell of a real tree, but I don't miss getting down on all fours and trying to get water into the stand, only to watch Muffin drink it all out.

4)  Do you open presents on Christmas morning, Christmas Eve, or both?  Growing up, we opened two presents on Christmas Eve - one from my parents and one from my siblings.  Now that I'm grown up, I wait until Christmas morning. :)

5)  What is your favorite Christmas movie to watch? Favorite Christmas song?   I love Christmas Vacation. LOVE IT.  As for song... that's tough because I adore Christmas music all year long. But I probably like the Sugarplum Fairies, O Come O Come Emmanuel, or Sleigh Ride.

Who should I tag? (don't you feel a bit like you are being chosen for Red Rover or Kick Ball - gosh I hated Red Rover).  Ok, here are the peeps I choose!

Carrie at The Carrie Gland
(Mom-To-Be) Monica at Captivated by Love
(Mom-To-Be) Marie at Home is Where the Heart is
(Mom-To-Be) Anne at The Three B's

Thirty Things - 20 & 21

I'm sure I missed another week somewhere in there, so you really wanted two questions this week, right?  I'm ready to wrap this up but since I committed to it, I'll see it out to the full 30 questions.

20: Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood. I'm really bad about memories like this, but I'll do what I can. 

  1. I was just a little thing, LITTLE thing, and my older brother, Dad and I were down at the shop when my Mom came down the path to tell Clay (my brother) he had strep throat and would need to go back to the doctor for a shot. He was little, too and upset about the shot aspect (imagine!) so he did what most little kids do... he started crying. Which totally broke my heart I was so sad for him.
  2. When I was five-years-old, my sister was born.  I don't remember much about Mom being pregnant, except Dad called her "junior" all the time... Anyway, I suppose the night she was born my parents dropped us (my brother and I) off with my aunt & uncle while they went to the hospital. I woke up in sometime in the night, in a different house, and this little church with stained glass windows was turned on so that multicolored lights shone out of the windows. It was so beautiful to me and I just laid there looking at it until I went back to sleep. (My sister was born in December, so it was a Christmas decoration my aunt had put out for the holidays).
  3. I guess I was in first grade or so and had to ride the bus to school with everything from first grade to high school. These three high school aged brothers were bad to the bone and feared by most everyone in the community.  Lucky me, I ended up with a seating assignment beside one of them.  I had this ratty fake fur coat that looked like apossum fur that I huddled up around me and tried my best to stay warm on that cold bus.  I was sitting on the heater, totally blocking all the hot air to the rest of the bus, when someone thought they were going to talk smack to me about it.  For whatever reason, that big bad boy stood up and threatened anyone try and make me move.  He was the oldest brother - the biggest and meanest brother - and he was my personal hero. He looked out for me the rest of the time. 
21:  If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?  Ok, call me a total dork, but I'm not sure I want a super power. Because with any power comes drawbacks or consequences so you know... I think I'll stay like I am.  Unless losing weight is a superpower. Then I'm totally game. Pass the chocolate cake, please!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Camera Woes.

Did I tell you my camera died? It was my good camera - ok, not an SLR but still my GOOD camera. It died. Kicked the bucket. Kaput. Goner. You have never seen someone so sad as when I realized it was gone because I knew I didn't possess the funds to replace it the way I'd like to do. *sniff sniff*

After MUCH deliberation, and I mean serious deliberation and conversations with everyone on Facebook and one seriously long discussion with my buddy, Hayes, I chose the Canon S100. Um. I'm not exactly thrilled, the zoom isn't as good and the flash isn't as good, and you know, I just want my old camera that I understand back (but being told it would take at least $200 IF it could be repaired... yeah no.)

HOWEVER, it does exactly what Hayes said it would do - takes great pics in low light. And makes Macy look even cuter, which is definitely a requirement, right? And I can toss it in my purse, which isn't something I could do with me old one.  So here are a few of the first pictures taken.  I'll give it a real review after Hayes teaches me how to use it.

With the flash. Umm.. a little too bright. Sorry Macy!

The last two were taken with just a lamp on in the room - not even the overhead lights. And she's just adorably cute, so... I think it will be ok until I can afford something bigger/better.  Especially after learning more from the master himself. :)  I'm so glad I have smart friends to help me with these stressful decisions!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Breathe Beth, Breathe...

Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh.

OK, so this morning one of the folks I follow, Mrs. Laura over at Mouse in the Kitchen wrote about how starting a blog has taught her bravery and thus she is opening her own store, Designs by Mouse, right there on the corner of her blog.  It has adorable ruffled scarves there right now, for everyone to go check out!  Just click right here!

I totally understand her fears of putting your creations out there to the public and announcing - HERE I AM, YOU GREAT BIG WORLD! PLEASE LIKE ME AND MY STUFF.  I took a similar step this year, just before election time (am I CRAZY?!) and opened my very own Etsy store called Pressed Clovers.

It was so scary. What if everyone laughed and whispered behind my back? What if no one liked my idea or everyone else's ideas were better than mine? All these insecurities bubbled up, but I took the step anyway.

My shop isn't fancy. It has no cool header - much like this blog - no cool header. I don't know how to add that stuff so it never got added. But, it still showcases my products... little pieces of me.

And I have had friends believe in me - oh my, have I had friends believe in me!! Paulene (check out her cool store here - she cheered me on from the first time I uttered the thoughts of opening an online store.  And Grace - she has single-handedly kept me in business! Even trusted me enough to make gifts for her co-workers, which really touched me.

But today. Today I received a convo from a perfect stranger. Someone I've never met but likes my books and wanted to ask about ordering two. Not that she will - she may not. But, she asked. A stranger. *sniff sniff*  I'm getting all emotional because someone LIKES ME! SHE REALLY LIKES ME! (or my stuff, really, but I am my stuff!!!)  This is what she liked - my Christmas Scrapbook.  I'm happy, can you tell?

I admire people who can put themselves out there with total confidence. I admire small business owners and independent stores who are living the dream everyday, despite the fact the dream comes with a lot of realities. My hat goes off to every single one of you. And I also cheer each person who shops with these stores, shops and independent owners, because YOU are making their dreams come true. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Muffin Monday!

This weekend I worked on scrapbooks for Pressed Clovers, which means I stayed home instead of being gone most of the day. As you can see, Muffin was loving that...sarcasm. She put up with me but she wasn't too happy about it. ;)

I don't know about you, but after a high school band/chorus performance, a local dance performance of the Nutcracker, shopping, and our local Tour of Homes, I'm getting in the holiday spirit! Yes, it's been in the 70s, but that will be changing and I'll have to find some long pants to wear...even with the warm weather it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! :)
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My secret addiction

Is anyone else out there as addicted to Downton Abbey as I am? Oh my gosh I love this show! Just watched a marathon and would gladly watch it all over again! Can't wait, season three starts in January. Go outside right now and you'll hear me squealing! Yay!
posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Letter

It's a Whitman's Sampler box, turned tacky. :)
Dear pen pals, I'm glad you are ok with me attempting to be creative... even when it turns out pretty darn tacky. But it's the thought that counts, right? RIGHT?! Look at how cute these are at Creative Breathing... but understand it's the THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.  ;)

Dear friends, I have had two of you share with me how much you appreciate my support and encouragement in the past.  While I'm slightly baffled - I don't feel like I did anything special or out-of-the-ordinary - I can't explain how wonderful it felt to hear such high praise from people I care about. I'm all about telling people what they mean to you and really appreciate you sharing with me! IT MADE MY DAY WEEK.

Do you see how large this is? Check out the person on the left... it's big.

Dear High School Christmas Show, I'm really glad we randomly chose you to see last night! It brought back all kinds of high school band nerd memories... But even cooler was the HUGE gumball art of horses running in the hallway. Seriously awesome.

Dear Week, you've been busy!  Work Christmas gathering, babysitting Macy, visiting with an old high school friend, visiting with Sara, ... this weekend promises to be packed, too, but it's ok. I'm happy to have people who want to spend time with me. :)  Just let me get a little sleep, please.

Store front and street in Downtown
Left: bedroom pencil tree   right: tabletop living room tree
Dear Christmas lights, I love you. I adore you. I light up like a little kid when I see your flickering and twinkling - you seem to just explode with joy and happiness. *sigh* I love it. I also loved getting my trees up in the house and adding to the festive feeling at home. It's all warm and cozy. 

Dear Christmas Cards - I'm so thankful you have been mailed already. Now I can sit back and enjoy seeing cards come to me!  My fridge is enjoying the decoration. :) 

Dear Macy, because no posting is truly complete without your adorable little face, here is a post from my babysitting date.  You are all drool-y and smile-ly and slobber-y. It's kinda nasty and sweet at the same time.  :) 

Dear Pressed Clovers - another sale this week! Holy cow, Batman, it feels so good! :) Thank you for believing in me and my work!

Dear Lord, You are amazing. Thank you for holding my Dad in your hands, keeping him close to You during each cancer treatment. Thank you for the many people praying on his behalf all across the country.  Thank you for bringing baby Ryan through his surgery, too! (I've picked him out to be Macy's first boyfriend...).  You are good in all things and I thank You.

Join us over at Adventures of Newlyweds to link up your letter! 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thirty Things on Thursday

Today's Question: 

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Right where I am.  I love being steps away from my sister & nieces, my mom & dad.  If I had a larger house right on this same spot, it would come with stipulations - like I'd want someone to clean it for me, too.  So I'd even keep my little house that I am totally in love with.

I dated a guy who completely could not understand why I would want to live in my parents' front yard.  He'd tell me I didn't REALLY live on my own, I lived in fear of my parents' opinions, I couldn't be myself. Blah blah blah. Why didn't I move, live away from them, experience what it was really like to be independent.  Blah blah blah.

Why would I want to move away from the people who love me most just to experience life without them? Life without them will come soon enough. I don't need to live in an apartment surrounded by strangers to feel independent.   I don't need the freedom to "do what I want" ... if I want to do something that I wouldn't want them to see, should I be doing it anyway? Probably not. So I don't feel stifled or smothered. At least, not often. :)

If you want to see the beginning of this line of questioning, please feel free to click here to see the first posting. Question 20 will be coming up next week! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Babysitting Woes

Oh my. I realize how little I know about children after babysitting Macy today. How do new mothers know all this stuff? But Macy did well with her fill-in babysitter, even if she had to do some job training.

Today was one of dad's treatments so mom needed to be with him. I think this round was a little rougher than the first two, so it just makes me nervous for the last three. If you pray, please say a prayer for my Pops.

I had dinner tonight with a high school friend who is married with five kids. She just had twins and they are Super Cute. It's always good to catch up with an old friend. We are in very different places in our lives, but that's ok.

I'm literally falling sleep so let me go crash! Night!
posted from Bloggeroid
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