Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Charley Bear: 1.75

She's sweet and spunky and she's growing like a weed. Just look at this collection of bear pictures from the last 7 months. She went from baby to kid. And grew several hairs. This also happens to coincide with the time we lived with my parents. You think there was something in the water at our old house prohibiting hair growth?
(Clearly, we all know that is not the case)

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And just for record keeping, here are months 20 and 21 blown up for your viewing pleasure.

This month required bribery.
A smile was too much to ask.

We only have three more months of bear pictures and it makes me a little sad! I have an album on my personal Facebook page that all of these are in and I love to flip through them and watch Big Bear shrink. Also, I was thankful my parents had a room with blue walls at their house so I could continue on with the same general look for the remainder of the bear pictures once we moved out of the townhouse. And you know what my mom told me yesterday? She said she might repaint that room! Can you believe she would do that to me!?

But if she did do that, I am fairly certain I can photoshop the walls back to blue anyways. In fact, that curtain hasn't been hung at all since we lived in our old house. For the last 7 months that curtain has been photoshopped into the picture. I have skillz.

Anyways, let's talk about the Charley girl. I think I want to just do a bulleted list this time.

  • She cries when I sing along with a song on the radio. She only likes me to sing certain songs: Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and The Wheels On The Bus.
  • She has finally relented on the hairbow situation. Not that we've been able to even use a bow for that long. But she finally allows hairs to be bowed or pigtailed. Behold the cuteness:
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  • She loves showers. I regret introducing her to these because now she wants to join me for every shower.
  • She associates family members together. She can say almost all of their names and knows that Wyatt goes with his brother Weston ("seston") and his dad Colt and mom Racheal. Although she can't yet say Racheal. I think that is fascinating since a lot of the time we get together with my family there are more than one family there. How does she know who goes with who?
  • She's figured out puzzles. All of a sudden one day she was just able to do them. It was amazing to watch.
  • She's a perpetual channel flipper. She only likes to watch a minute or two of a show before she's ready for you to flip to another channel to see what else is on.
  • The cat obsession continues. I don't want to have the same birthday party theme for her 2nd birthday too, but it's truly still her favorite thing.
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  • She loves broccoli and green beans and coleslaw. She's already beating me in the vegetable department.
  • Biscuits are her absolute favorite food though. That and any sort of fruit. 
  • She talks. We hold conversations. It's awesome.
  • She mimics everything. Putting in contacts. Squashing bugs. Squealing because of bugs. Swatting away bugs. Putting (pretend) lotion on her legs. Walking out of the house with a million bags and things to carry. She mimics it all. My little mini-me.
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    Picture has nothing to do with the last bullet point because I do not have a love of sitting in sinks.. It's just cute. And yes, I do realize this is the second picture in this post with Charley in a sink.
  • She has basically mastered drinking out of a regular cup. I have no idea how. She just sort of did it.
  • She loves to dip her foods. You know those plates that have separate little divided sections for different foods? Heaven forbid one of them be empty. She will want it filled with any kind of dip. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, syrup, ranch, anything. Give the girl some dip. 
  • Do you watch The Middle? Charley used to have a very definitive head nod for "yes" but now she's decided to start saying "hess" instead. Only, it is IDENTICAL to how Brick whispers "yesssss" but without the awkward under-the-breath talking afterwards. It makes me laugh every time.
  • Rainboots. She's obsessed with them.
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  • She's just fun. And sweet. And I love her.
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Next up: the TWO year update. Two!

It's Slow Going

I'm taking my time decorating this house. No walls have been painted. Barely any decorations have been hung. And I've bought very few things so far in terms of decor. Not that it would seem I need anything else when my spare bedroom (aka staging room) currently looks like this:


I'm trying to wait until I have a vision or an idea or inspiration for how I want the room to look. I do want to make them functional in the time being, but I see no point in moving bookcases inside the office that are going to need to be painted anyways just so I can unpack a few more boxes of yearbooks and photo albums, ya know? So the last remaining boxes will remain packed in the office and in our master bedroom.

But, lets not talk about all that HASN'T been done. Lets get you caught up with the few things that have been done! First up, the breakfast area.


All of the main living areas are open to each other and share walls so I know the color scheme will remain consistent throughout. I shared a glimpse of what I wanted to do before and so far I'm staying on task. I got this table, bench, and chairs from Pier 1 after searching everywhere and almost settling on something completely not in my "vision" from Crate and Barrel. (And by the way, the Crate and Barrel one wasn't really in the budget either.)

I bought curtains from IKEA and just so happened to have a perfectly sized, CLEAN rug in the right colors that I got from a yard sale for $5.00. Sure, it's white-based and I have a toddler, but I only paid $5.00 and I have a SteamVac. I'll take my chances for the sake of beauty.

Things it still needs: yellow-er walls. I also have several plates I've collected from yard sales that I plan on collaging on those two shorter walls. Also, that's not an illusion. That light fixture isn't even over the table. I blame the builder. We still need to move that, and get something new. I keep going back to this one, but I think I'd rather have something rectangular with three lights. I'll keep you updated.

Elsewhere around the house is looking pretty unfinished. The living room is slowly getting there, but, not.


I've put away that laundry and bought a couple more pillows since this picture, but that's really it. Maybe I'll take a picture in the daylight one day so my rug doesn't look black instead of navy. I need an accent chair in the corner, which is currently occupied by a tiny accent chair:


Of course I'll have to ask her permission first. Ooh! Also! You see the color of that little wickery table next to Charley's chair? I want my bigger coffee table that color instead of the light color. Think I can stain it? Anyone have any tips or tricks for me to make that happen?

We still need to put up the faux fireplace and I think I'm wanting to faux stack some wood in it like this. I'll need John's help with that project though and he is currently busy. Busy doing what, you might ask? Well, it started on Saturday with some lumber in the yard and some head scratching going on. My dad was there too.


By day's end we had this:


And then Sunday Charley and I watched out of the window as progress continued:


And tonight they ended up with this:

The deck is going up faster than the house, and one of the deck builders works a full time job! But I digress...

So that's where we're at. Hope to have a fully functional deck very soon! Because something tells me it wouldn't be safe for Charley just yet.


Friday, June 21, 2013

eShakti: Real fashion for real people

Don't worry. Due to the length of time it took me to do this post there will likely never be any more product reviews on this blog. But they didn't give me a deadline to do the review so I resorted to one of my favorite pastimes: procrastination.

So, back in February I was offered a complimentary article of clothing from eShakti in exchange for a review on this little ol' blog. After viewing the options, there was absolutely no way I could say no, no matter how many times I've rolled my eyes at other blogger's product reviews.

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This was right in the middle of my wardrobe awakening where I was trying to phase out my crappy clothes in lieu of a more quality, and therefore better fitting wardrobe so it was perfect timing on their part. (If you're wondering how that's going, I am still buying things every few weeks from twice.com. I'm a little bit obsessed.)

(Another reason I won't be asked to do any more product reviews: I am easily sidetracked and even advertise other websites within the review.)

So where were we. Okay. Checked out all of the options at eShakti, and was really impressed. They also have custom sizing on everything they sell which I thought was really cool and wanted to try out.

I was given plenty of choices and on the first day I tried to make a selection, I couldn't choose. There were TOO many choices and I ended up asking a group of friends to help me. The next time I went to the site to make a selection, many of my top choices were gone and I had to start over in trying to pick one item. I was looking for a dress that I could wear to work with a cardigan and also wear on summer weekends. I wanted an a-line style to hide my butt and hips and I like something that ties at the waist to make sure that that smallest area of mine is accentuated. I waited so long to make my choice that there weren't many left to choose from and ended up choosing a bright orange dress. It was in a color that I normally wouldn't buy because it's not the best for my lack-of-coloring, but I just went with it. It was a color block dress and I liked the style, and I liked that it tied at the waist. It covered enough that I could easily wear it to work and on the weekends too.

I placed the order and gave all of my measurements so I could get this dress to fit me perfectly. Usually I don't have many problems with fit on an off-the-rack item, so had it not been a free option I would have just ordered my regular size.

I received it very quickly and was so excited to try it on right away. I put it on and stood in the mirror for a pretty long time. I couldn't tell how I felt about it. I was still living with my parents at the time so then I went to get my mom's opinion. She said she liked it, but I could tell she didn't love it either.


I finally wore it yesterday after it sat in my closet for four months. Yesterday was a rush-to-get-ready type of morning, and I just sort of threw it on in haste. Sometimes when I am sort of rushed to wear something I wasn't previously very sure about, I find that I end up loving the outfit and wondering why I didn't wear it more often. Yesterday was not one of those times.

As the day went on, I felt more and more self-conscious about my bright orange frock. Remember when I shared that the outfit I wore one particular day reminded me of a hot dog? Well, this one reminded me of something too, and it didn't come to me until I was stuck at work with no change of clothes.

life jacket orange

Where's my canoe? 

Once that image popped into my head, I was ashamed to step foot out of my cube. I was sure everyone else could see it too. So when lunch time came around, I went extra late and only went to the restaurant that is in my building to minimize the number of people I'd see, or, who'd see me.

Here were my issues with it: 
A) I gave them my shoulder measurements, but I feel like the shoulder area was taken in some and it didn't need to be. The shoulder area was too narrow and I found myself constantly tucking bra straps back underneath it.

B) The length isn't right! I know I'm tall, but it didn't need to be lengthened that much. It hit right below my knee instead of right above it. Very awkward. 

C) The amount of fabric that makes up the skirt. When I would sit down and it would hang down off either side of my chair I felt like I was in a robe of some sort. 

I took this picture at the end of the day, and with all of that extra fabric hanging around it got pretty wrinkly.
D) I didn't feel skinny in it like I normally do in other a-line dresses. I like that illusion, and this one didn't give it. 

E) My favorite part was the color blocking on the back and the eyelet closure. Once I had my cardigan on to keep from freezing to death in the office, I was back to just looking like a life jacket. 

Looking at the pictures makes me like it a little bit more than I did while wearing it which says to me that most of my uncomfortable-ness was made up in my head, but I still don't think I'd wear it again. Unless I need something to go with my flotation device, of course.

So, since this is a product review, I feel like I need to say that I don't feel like I can fairly review eShakti's product because the problem wasn't as much with the article of clothing as it was with my procrastination/poor decision making skills. The dress was made very well, and it came very fast. I really think the ability to customize is a niche that isn't available many other places and could really work well for people that have trouble finding clothing that doesn't have to be altered. But if I had to say if I'd personally buy this product after having my experience, I'd say no. Sorry, eShakti. Wish it would have turned out differently for us. In fact, if you'd like me to give it another try I'd be more than willing! 

So there's my first blog review. It will likely be the last since I decided to be honest instead of endorsing whatever product I received in order to receive more free stuff - as I've seen so many other bloggers do. However, if you are in the business of sending me free stuff and said free stuff isn't Anthrax or bombs, I'd be happy to let you do that. (I'm looking at you, Joss and Main. I've got a whole house to decorate!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Internet deadlines mean nothing to me.

It's over. My lofty 101 goals I was supposed to complete in 1001 days came to an end today. I failed miserably.

Let me list all of these out for you one last time. Some I've completed since the last time I've updated you, but, not very many. One thing I learned is this: I do very few fun activities like movies, concerts, or even renting movies. I don't know why this is. I do enjoy those things, so why don't I do them more often? I mean, in THREE YEARS I saw 2 movies?

I can probably explain some of it. I am a little bit obsessed with this girl, who has existed for about 2/3 of this project. I have a hard time scheduling things during her waking hours while I'm with her. Since I'm a working mom, those few hours each weekday night and our weekends are precious to me, and I try to only schedule things for after her 8:00ish bedtime. Anyways, I'm going off on a tangent, and that could surely be a post for another day. Anyways, that's the best excuse I can come up with.

A secondary excuse: Made up internet deadlines mean nothing to me. Even when announced to the entire internet. I don't feel responsible to you!

So yes. I got a whopping 47% on this project! Not a passing grade no matter how you look at it.

Start Date: September 14, 2010

End Date: June 11, 2013

Items completed: 47/101 (these are bolded)

1. Read 101 books (28/101). (I,II,)
Add these to the last time I updated you:  
20. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
21. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larson
22. The Sea of Tranquility - Katja Millay
23. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
24. Still Alice - Lisa Genova
25. Looking For Alaska - Magic Hour
26. Magic Hour - Kristin Hannah
27. Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum
28. Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
Which is still no where near 101, so yeah. Failed it. 
2. Volunteer.
3. Cook dinner at least once a week for 3 months. -  I probably did this. It wasn't something I kept track of. And how sad that I can't say for sure.
4. Take 1001 photos in 1001 days (1001/1001).
5. Get a pedicure.
6. Spend an entire day in pajamas.
7. Try 10 new foods (9/10). (I, II)
8. Have breakfast in bed.
9. Make breakfast in bed for someone.
10. Eat at 10 local restaurants I've never eaten at before (10/10). (I, II, III)
11. Take a trip for our anniversary.
12. Visit a state I've never been to before.
13. See a Broadway show.
14. See a show by Cirque de Soleil.
15. Go to the movies 10 times (2/10). (I)
16. Watch the sun rise.
17. Watch the sun set.
18. Get a massage. - First ever & wasn't that impressed. 
19. Take a bubble bath. - Soon though - thanks to my new jetted tub! Bubbles to the ceiling!
20. See the oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth.
21. Publish at least 101 blog posts. (101/101)
22. Have at least 10 real date nights. (0/10)
23. Spend an entire day without turning on the computer / no internet.
24. Bake cookies from scratch.
25. Carve a pumpkin.
26. Go on a picnic.
27. Go to at least 5 concerts (0/5).
28. Win something.
29. Participate in a charity run/walk.
30. Visit 5 places in the NC region I've never been to before (0/5).
31. Go through a corn maze.
32. Replace all the broken blinds in our house.
33. Learn to identify all 50 states on the map and their capitals. (I)
34. Watch 5 movies that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. (0/5).
35. Splurge on something nice for myself.
First ever non-Target/Kohl's/cheap-o purse. Although no way did I spend regular price. Thank you Kate Spade 75% off sale!
36. Donate $5 to charity for every challenge not met.
37. Make the on-time train every day for 2 weeks.
38. Move to a bigger house.
39. Collect all spare change until the last day of this project.
           TOTAL: $34.78. Apparently I don't use cash very much.
40. Visit Charleston.
41. Get parents’ home videos transferred to DVD.
42. See a drive-in movie.
43. Have a baby.
44. See a movie in 3-D.
45. Build a snowman. No snow around here in a while! At least not enough for a snowman!
46. Host a game night with friends.
47. Take pictures in a photo booth.
48. Learn 5 constellations.
49. Go to a fair.
50. Go to a theme park I haven’t been to before.
51. Get my legs waxed.
52. Upgrade to the latest iPhone.
53. Go camping with a group of friends.
54. Go to a haunted house.
55. Give a homeless person food.
56. Put away $10 for every goal completed.
57. Dress up for Halloween.
58. Use our fondue pot.
59. Have no soda for one month. (I, II)
60. Get a bike.
61. Watch 50 movies on IMDB’s top 250. (0/50)
62. Become 100% credit card debt free.
63. Get my car windows tinted.
64. Have at least 50 blog followers. (50/50)
65. Bring my lunch 4 days of the week for an entire month. (I)
66. Find, get, and like a new hairstyle.
67. Go out and play pool one night.
68. Go to the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
69. Exercise 3 days a week for a 4 continuous weeks.
70. Try 5 new cupcake recipes out of my “Cupcakes! From The Cake Mix Doctor” book. (2/5) (I)
71. Take 5 more photography classes. (1/5)
72. Finish my picture scanning project.
73. Visit New York City.
74. Get new [matching] kitchen appliances.
75. Beat Super Mario Galaxy II.
76. Take pictures of each item as it is completed in the 101 list.
77. Take a day trip to the mountains in the fall.
78. Go to a parade.
79. Attend the midnight premiere of a movie.
80. Rent and watch an entire season of a TV show on a lazy weekend.
81. Go swimming in our neighborhood pool 5 times. (1/5) (I)
82. Use another round of Crest White Strips.
83. Type, print and organize all recipes into a notebook.
84. Fix all of the “broken” clothes in my closet: missing buttons, broken hems, etc.
85. Go to a zoo.
86. Go to the mountains to cut down our own Christmas tree.
87. Do something with the wedding pictures – prints, photobook, etc.
88. Go to a festival of some sort that I haven’t been to before.
89. Buy a canvas and paint a piece of artwork.
90. Go canoeing.
91. Make my Christmas cards one year.
92. Babysit each of siblings’ kids so they can have a free night alone. (2/5)
93. Buy a sewing machine, Cricut cutting machine, or some other crafty machine.
94. Go to a movie alone.
95. Buy a digital video camera.
96. Buy a new lens for my camera.
97. Start a new tradition.
98. Inspire someone else to make a 101 in 1001 list for themselves.  Hey! How's yours going Laura?
99. Make a piƱata.
100. Have professional pictures taken.
101. Complete a 365-day photo challenge. (365/365)

Am I going to specifically work on completing the other 53%? Nah. Goals schmoals. I know a few I'll complete soon anyways (going to NYC, going to a few concerts) but I'm not in the business of tracking them anymore. It's over. I failed. I must make you all so proud.