Love Songs

I recently received a friend request on Facebook from a cousin.  I haven’t seen her in ages, as she lives in Mexico and it’s been well over 10 years since I’ve made a trip down there. We are one year apart and I have vivid memories of us doing girl things during the summer when I would visit as a teen. One summer, in particular, was particularly memorable. It was right after 7th or 8th grade and I had just discovered boys. I should say, I had just discovered that boys weren’t just stinky, dumb and annoying beings put on this earth to frustrate and bother me.

Can you tell where this is going?

I developed a crush on the son of one of my aunt’s neighbors. I thought it was true love. Whatever it was, it felt super intense and prompted many late nights at my cousin’s house, talking, giggling and listening to spanish love songs by the then-popular boy bands. We would listen to them over and over and belt them out, not caring who heard. I hadn’t thought of those days in so long.

After I accepted my cousin’s friend request, she commented on a picture and included the chorus from one of our favorite love songs from that summer. It made me giggle and reminisce on that summer. I immediately hopped onto Spotify and prayed that they had spanish songs in their catalog. I was in luck and quickly made a playlist of all the songs I could remember from that time. And I’ve basically had it on repeat all week. It’s been awesome!

It made me think, though, about the experience of teens today. There aren’t really any love songs anymore. You know, the songs that make you pine for someone, or that make you cry when you hear them because you just had a bad break up and the lyrics seem to fit your situation almost exactly. What’s up with that? What are teens of America doing now when they’re in “love” or have a broken heart??? There aren’t any songs like “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield or “I Need Love” by LL Cool J anymore. Or like “Careless Whisper”, by George Michael and “Every Rose has it’s Thorn” by Poison. And one of my all time favorites (because I can remember getting butterflies in my stomach when I’d sing it), “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston.  Who are The Jets (hello, “Crush on You”) of this new generation? Is there an equivalent to New Edition (“Can you Stand the Rain”)? I know Taylor Swift has some love songs, as does Kelly Clarkson. But the majority of them are of the angry/bitter variety. Are we really that scared to sing a song that talks about the crazy, intoxicating, VULNERABLE feelings we have when we find a new love? Is it wrong nowadays to say we are heartbroken and so very sad, and maybe a little depressed because someone dumped us?  Do we always have to be so flippant, saying “There’ll be another you in a minute” like Beyonce? What happened to those love songs that made you cry even harder when they came on because they made you realize, “I Can’t Live, With or Without You”???

I realize this all makes me sound old, but I don’t care. Maybe I’m making WAY more of this than is necessary (sorry, that’s the sociology major in me). But I couldn’t help thinking about all this as I was listening to the love songs of my youth. I’d love to hear about the love songs of your youth and what you think about the current state of “love” songs. Just humor me, ok? If you want to go down memory lane with me, click on the videos below. You know you want to…

I can see clearly now

My goodness, what a week!  Actually, two weeks.  That little shop of mine has been front and center lately.  And while it’s been wonderful to see it flourish and grow, it’s definitely taken it’s toll.  I’m just now coming up for air from all the madness and it sure feels good to breathe.

After I opened up shop at the end of February, I decided that I needed to go big.  You know, go big or go home? I mean, why put all the sweat and tears into something if you aren’t going to give it your all after it’s up and running, right?  I decided I would purchase some ad space on a very popular blog.  One that has readers that fit into my store’s demographics.  Well, it really paid off.  I mean, from Day 1!  I anticipated having some time to get my shop ready before my shop’s feature and giveaway mid-month, but NO!!  So on top of filling orders, I was also creating new items and getting ready for the big day.  When the time finally came, I was inundated with orders!  While I was thrilled at the response, I was just a teeny, tiny bit overwhelmed.  I spent every waking hour during that next week fulfilling orders.  I hadn’t had time to create inventory in the days leading up to the giveaway, so I had to make everything as the orders came in.  It was arduous.

I can look back now and see that the time I was spending on the orders got to me. After all, I wasn’t looking for something that would take up all my time;  something that would basically require me to work more than 40 hours a week.  It’s obvious to me now that my family, especially the boys, had a rough time that week, too.  We had takeout five times that week.  FIVE!  We normally have takeout once a week.  My mood was…um…not at its best. There was no time to play after school, or enjoy time with the family after dinner.  Nope.  None of that happened. Mommy was very grumpy and tired. I even had a request for a wholesale order on some of my items! And while normally I would’ve been ecstatic about it, all I could feel was dread. I started doubting myself.  What in the world did I get myself into?? And how was I going to get out of it?

I’m happy to report that those thoughts and feelings have passed.  Once I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel my mood changed dramatically.  I felt so much better and more able to cope with the orders that were still coming in daily. And now I am back to focusing on the things that really matter, like my family and mySELF. I even decided on some new items to add to the shop.  I’m so excited about them, I can hardly contain myself!  I’ll be working on them next week, after I’ve had time to finish up some outstanding orders.

Now all I want to do is create something for myself. I’ve slipped a bit on my Project Life. But I just received some new goodies in the mail that have me excited to get going again.  I’ll share here once I get something done.

And I have no photo for this post. I haven’t shot in soooo long.  That’s how nuts things have been! But I’m back on the horse. So don’t despair, future posts will have some eye candy🙂

So Excited!

I just put something out into the world.  Something that started off as one idea and morphed into a few others before finally settling into it’s final state.  It was quite a process.  One where I found inspiration in the form of confetti pockets like the ones shown here and here by Lisa Truesdell.  I love the idea of confetti.  It’s just so festive.  But I never learned how to sew.  I wasn’t going to let that stop me, though!  After borrowing a sewing machine from a neighbor (thanks, Amber!), asking for help on a couple message boards and then learning how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin (thanks to the sewing machine’s manual, duh), I finally started sewing!  And it only took me about a day and a half.  After many different attempts at designing something using words and confetti, I finally came up with this:

I’m planning on using these little confetti sentiment cards in my Project Life spreads.  They’ll be perfect to add that little something.  I’m thinking I’ll also keep some around to use as gift tags.  I could easily write a To/From/Greeting on them, punch a hole at the top and attach them to a gift with some twine.

It’s going to be so fun using these.  If you want some of your own, they’re available at the shop for $10/set.

Routine

Ah, routine. Experts say children need it. I’m here to say I do, too, and I’m not a child (most of the time).  As my life has evolved over the last 3 years, so has my routine.  Actually, it hasn’t so much evolved as it’s disappeared.

When I worked in Corporate America, my routine involved getting up, getting my kids ready for daycare and myself presentable so that we could leave the house by 7 a.m.  After dropping them off and getting to the office I was a worker bee until it was time to go pick them up.  Then we came home, I stressed about what was for dinner while berating myself for not having crafted a meal plan AGAIN and dig through my freezer looking for something edible.  Most nights it was just me and the boys since my husband traveled for work four days out of the week.  So they would have a “kid meal” and I’d have cereal or freezer waffles or some other form of convenience food.  We’d play, I’d bathe them and put them to bed and then plop myself in front of the computer or TV for the res of the night because I was too tired to do anything else.

I’m glad that’s no longer my routine.  I’m glad those days are behind me. But now that I’m (finally) starting to find a purpose, I need to create a new routine.  Opening A Life Handmade has been totally different than any other endeavor from the last 3 years. I have so many ideas and things I want to create that it’s often paralyzing.  Where do I start? Which one do I take on first? How much capital do i need to make it happen?  I should be using social media, but how? How much time should I spend looking for new inspiration, looking for places to advertise, creating new products, going to the post office, blogging, etc? And what about my personal life? I don’t want to get to the point where I don’t know what’s for dinner at 5 p.m.  That’s just too stressful for me.

I’m truly craving a routine.  One that will fit with my new job AND my home life. I know it will take time to find one, but I’m probably the most impatient person in the world so I want one NOW.  I’ve found a few resources that talk about routines/schedules for creatives. I actually found them a while ago and…haven’t read them yet. But I really don’t want to take the time to read them.  I just want to DO.

If you have any suggestions on how to find a routine for a creative business and a very full home life, please let me know.  Because I’m kind of all over the place right now and it’s not working for me.  Maybe I should just go back to bed?

Currents

I really love the idea of doing a weekly post about what I’m currently doing.  It will be great for my Project Life and will hopefully help me see the joy in my everyday life.  This concept isn’t new, by any means.  I’ve been inspired by Tina of Life Love Paper, Lisa Leonard of Lisa Leonard Designs and many others…so here it goes!

time: 10:39 a.m.
location: my office
eating: wasabi almonds (LOVE how spicy they are)
drinking: diet pepsi, what else
listening: 10,000 Maniacs, These are the Days
watching: my computer screen…duh.
creating: listings for my etsy shop
wishing: i had all the inventory in the world
wanting: to go back to bed
needing: to figure out whether to have 2 shops or just one.  not a fan of the fees on easy, but more people can find me there vs. via bigcartel
planning: a trip to the post office to mail of some purchases

And because posts without pics are boring, here’s what my desk looked like yesterday while I was doing my PL:
Messy, I know…
How about you?  What are you currently up to?

A Very Glee Project Life

I have a confession…

I’m a 37-year-old woman…and I like Glee.

Especially when I’m working on my Project Life. I use Spotify and have a Glee playlist that is perfect for crafting.  It’s got great, upbeat music and gets me totally pumped!  So that’s what I was listening to when I created my week 6 spread.  I’m also listening to it as I’m writing this post.  So you may get a blow-by-blow of what comes on…sorry.

(The Glee version of Toxic is so good!  And that scene in the show was hysterical!!)

Observe, the single page for Week 6 (and yes, I need more ink pads.  Using only black ink makes me grumpy):

I used some of my Studio Calico February Kit, Daydream Believer.  It’s the first kit in my subscription and I love having some paper around so I don’t have to print out every. single. card.  Here are some of the details:

I’ve been using my Cameo for the weekly title cards and I’m loving it.  And now that I have pretty paper to layer the die cuts with, I’m much happier.

(LOVE Santana’s version of Valerie…better than Amy’s maybe?)

I used these adorable chevron bags for the first time and I’m in love.  They fit perfectly in the pockets and are great for adding a little tabbed tag or card.  I love them so much that I started carrying them in my shop.

Images like this are the reason I’m LOVING this project. My husband walked in one night as the boys and I were snuggling before bed time (note I’m in my pj’s and they aren’t.  I was tired and ready for bed before them!).  I was happy to use some of the doilies I have in stock and those adorable letter stickers from the Dear Lizzy line (also from my SC kit).

(“Will Schuester, I hate you”, name that Glee song!)

I used one of my new $1 stamps from Michael’s for the “Adorable You”.  I love that it’s all caps and looks like my favorite font, Bebas Neue.  Some of the stamp was on paper and some was on my picture.  I LOVED how dark and crisp it stamped on the photo paper.  Note to self…

Project LifeThis is a close up of my favorite story from this week.  My 4-yo son wants to be a girl.  At this age, it may be a phase.  Or it might not.  Either way, we just want him to be happy and if having his Nana make him a tutu accomplishes that, then bring on the tulle!  He LOVES his new tutu.  In fact, he has put in an order for about 63,937 more.  Good thing Nana is retired, lol!

And last but not least, a reminder of our daily life.  Laundry and (expensive!) Costco runs.  Good times…

(Hearing Blaine sing Teenage Dream gives me goosebumps.  That’s all.)

I’m linking up with Project Life Tuesday one at The Mom Creative as well as Project Life Tuesday over at One Happy Mama.  Thanks for stopping by and please link me up to your PL pages in the comments.  I love seeing how other people are documenting their life🙂

Christmas in February

My husband’s side of the family is rather large.  So large, in fact, that it’s nearly impossible to celebrate Christmas with everyone at the same time.  So what do we do?  Well, his dad and step-mom end up having to schedule Christmas with their various kids on different days.  We celebrated with them this past weekend.  The kids had a blast seeing Grandpa Jim and Grammer, as well as Aunt Shannon and Uncle Kevin.  Here are some pics from the weekend:

Grandpa Jim OR Jungle Jim?

More army guys, woot!

What have we here?

Playing Creationary

After opening presents, we had a blast playing various games.  We discovered that the women used their Legos very differently than the men.  Hmmm…what does that mean?

THis is a fish made by one of the women...

WIsh I could remember what I said that made him laugh??

It was wonderful to see family, and really made me wish we weren’t so far away from each other.  Sigh…

I also opened my new store this weekend, yay!  I actually opened it Friday night and had a few sales, which was so exciting!  Then I had a few more while we were out of town over the weekend.  These are some of my fave things that I have in stock right now:

I’m really excited that I decided to go for it with A Life Handmade. I’ve always loved paper goodies and other crafty things.  And while I’ve enjoyed the lack of overhead with designing digital products at my other stores, the feeling of holding your stuff in your hands is priceless.  So yes, there has been a start up cost in this venture, but I think it’s worth it.

How about you?  What did you do over the weekend??

Right Now…

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Right now…I’m glad this day is over.

Right now…I’m thankful for our pediatrician, who decided to err on the side of caution. Even though it meant a loooooooong day in the ER for us, the peace of mind we got was worth it.

Right now…I know, without a doubt, that I am married to the most amazing man on the planet. He is the calming force in my life and knows what I need before I do.

Right now…I’m listening to said man read bedtime stories to the boys. Both of them. And I’m so grateful for that.

Right now…I’m realizing that the boys are getting too big to wrestle on the couch with each other. They are bigger and stronger and the owies they sustain are, too.

Right now…I’m saying “I told you so” to myself. I predicted that kid #2 would be the one that would land us in the ER. Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

Right now…I’m developing a phobia of 3-day weekends, as that tends to be when we end up at the ER. Last year it was MLK weekend. This year, President’s Day weekend.

Right now…I’m just happy to have my little family at home, where we are supposed to be. Together.

Thank you to everyone that sent us good thoughts today. We are blessed to have you in our lives…

Brave Girls Club

I subscribe to a daily email from an awesome site called the Brave Girls Club.  Every morning I get inspirational emails delivered to my Inbox, and I LOVE it.  Here is today’s email:

Dear Super Duper Girl,

If you had lived through different experiences, you would not have the same things to say. If you had not done what you have done, endured what you have endured, decided what you have decided, you would not know what you know. If you had not fallen where you fell and got back up where you got back up…you would not be where you are.

You are you because of the sum of every minute you have been alive. You are you because of everything you have learned, no matter what it took to give you the lesson.

Because of all of these things, there is not another soul like you that ever existed and there never will be. Because of this, you have the ability to leave a beautiful mark on this world, and on every person you ever meet and every place you will ever go — a mark that could NEVER EVER be made by anyone else.

Own it, girl. The beauty is in the real stuff. Be real, flaws and all.
You are so very very very loved.
xoxo

A message from your friends at the Brave Girls Club – www.bravegirlsclub.com

Awesome, right? I suggest you go sign up immediately. Because we all need our own personal cheerleader sometimes…

Project Life: Week 2

I’m so excited to have another week done.  While this week was easier thanks to some planning, it still took longer than I’d like.  However, I have some thoughts as to why that was the case as well as some solutions.  I’m trying to remember that it’s going to take a few weeks before I find my groove, and that’s ok.

So first, my plan.  One of the PL Creative Team members, Marcy Penner, has these helpful planning sheets.  She made one for each of the various page protectors.  I printed it out and, while looking through my images, decided what photos would go where.

Throughout the week I uploaded images and went through them.  Since I use Lightroom, I can give each image a star rating.  So any picture I liked was given a 1-star.  I also created a smart collection for each week of the year.  This collection is auto populated with images that have a 1-star or higher rating for each week.  My rationale being that at the end of the week I would go through the collection for that week and give any images I actually wanted to use in my layout a 2-star.  I had 103 1-star images this week.  Yikes!  And this is where I hit a snag.  There were a few major stories I wanted to make sure I told.  And then there were a lot of smaller, everyday-esque stories i wanted to remember.  Because the larger stories had more than one image, they took up a lot of space.  That didn’t leave a lot of space for my everyday stories or memorabilia.  And it totally stressed me out.  I don’t know why I didn’t think to add another insert to tell some of the larger stories.  Instead, I spent about three hours (!) choosing, editing and printing my pictures.  I had to call it a night after that.  I was totally brain-dead!

The next night, I chose my journalers.  That went much quicker.  I added some text to them, printed them out and trimmed them in about an hour.  Then today I put everything together (the quickest part).  Here are my finished pages:

Left Side
Right Side

So that’s it!  Another week completed.  Another week of our story told.  I love that…

The Mom Creative