Saturday, January 29, 2011

Strengths Vs. Not-So-Strengths (Inspiration from Promise)

Promise Tangeman - whom you all know I love - recently challenged her blog readers to talk about strengths and not-so-strengths (don't you love that she didn't call them WEAKNESSES?).
So, I thought I would post mine:

Making people feel like they matter (BECAUSE THEY DO!)


Just because there aren't very many Not-So-Strengths does not mean they are any less important. All of the Not-So-Strengths are humbling. Very. I'm realizing how much of my life is a tug-of-war between dreaming and fear. On one hand, I'm a huge dreamer and I know exactly where I want to go and be in my life. On the other hand, I second-guess my ability (sometimes) to the point where I remain paralyzed in place. I'm currently learning and pushing forward to break the tug-of-war. In addition, I don't like cleaning and I can be organized but it takes a concentrated effort. Thank-goodness for Ben. Those are definite strengths of his and he helps me to be better.

Of course, the Strengths make me feel empowered and bold. Which is ironic because "bold" is the word of the week for me. I'm working hard to make my dreams reality and to worry about the "what-ifs" later. Feel free to share yours; I'd love to know your thoughts!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Mother-in-law

I'm being brave. I know my mother-in-law reads my blog. (Hi Cindy!)

I will be honest. I really struggled with the concept of Mother-in-law. Right after I lost my mom, I worked really hard to separate myself from any women close to my Mom's age. It was too difficult. Too painful. Too many memories. Too many "What Ifs".

Ben's Mom is so sweet. Everyone loves her. She loves and gives and helps so many people. She is generous with her time. To everyone around her. Our relationship in the first months of our (Ben and I's) relationship was rocky. In my opinion, my relationship with Cindy was rocky, mostly because of ME: my fears, my baggage, my issues. To be fair, a lot of my crazy, sporadic wedding planning dreams evolved into reality because of Cindy. She took on that wedding not as if it was her son getting married, but as if it was her own daughter getting married. I was very lucky. But, my fear continued to hold me back.

Over the last couple of months, I've changed. I think it was nothing short of giving myself permission. Permission to relax and establish a relationship with the woman who has seen Ben at his worst and lowest points; who raised two crazy boys by herself; a woman I am learning a lot about life from.

She makes me laugh. She makes me feel loved. She has given me survival tips for how to live to tell about Ben's "depression" if his team suffers a loss. She makes me feel like an equal. And, I'm learning how to trust.

But, more importantly, I am happy, thrilled even, to call Cindy my friend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Years Resolutions

So, a week into the new year I FINALLY nailed down my New Years Resolution. I wanted to make sure that whatever my goals were that I actually stuck to them. And, of course, 4 weeks into the New Year, I'm sharing my New Years Resolution with you. Better late than never, right?

They are very simple.

1. Be creative and make something every week.
This year, I want to be able to look back and SEE the fruits of my labor. To see my creativity more fully developed. My goal is simple and so far I'm making GREAT progress. :)

2. Make going to the gym a habit.
I've already discussed this. I have nothing else to say about it. (But, you know that isn't entirely true...who am I kidding?)

3. Spend more time with Ben. I'm in love with that boy. I MUST soak up every single possible and available moment with that lover of mine him :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Creeper: Some Blog Lovin'

I love to creep. Is that weird that I just announced that? Well, I do. And, I definitely mean that in the best possible stay-out-of-jail way.I love blogs. I love facebook. I am constantly exploring new blogs (Hey - it's cheaper than shopping!). I love Facebook because I continually creep on all of my 500 + friends. It makes my heart happy. Truly.

Recently, I learned, that I am not the ONLY person who loves to creep...YOU do TOO! This made me so happy...only to weird me out to know that you are creeping on me.

I feel the love. A lot. Ha!

So, here are some fun Stats to show of just how creepy my readers REALLY are:
1. Number 1 referred site - FACEBOOK. This is FANTASTIC news. It means my friends are reading my blog! 
2. Countries - I am proud to announce my blog is viewed internationally! Let's celebrate my readers from Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, and the Philippines...and I will NOT leave out my faithful U.S. of A. readers. 
3. Last month I had 899 views of my blog. That is incredible. But, RRRRRrrrreeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy, guys, you couldn't make it 900? REALLY? (haha...just kidding...sorta)

4. I've got a ton of lurkers. About every OTHER blog post or so, I get 1 comment. Friends, neighbors, visitors, readers...PLEASE comment. Talk to me. I'm begging you. From the bottom of my heart.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Milo Shop: A Proper Introduction

In my excitement to announce my Etsy shop, The Milo Shop, I kinda skipped over WHY I've opened up my own shop.

Over the past year, I have embraced creativity. I have embraced it with a growing boldness and a desire to do more work with my hands, textures, colors, and more. This has come out in different ways - decorating my home, adjusting my wardrobe, starting my blog, and now my Etsy store.

But there is more. I have a strong desire to work for myself, to own my own business, to turn my creativity into a business. This part has been extremely intimidating. I've spent so much time doing research, pouring over blogs, articles and more. But, my favorite resource? Etsy's Quit Your Day Job series. I L-O-V-E that series because it gives me hope...Hope that those series aren't for everyone else, but for me.

This is bold for me. This is taking a huge leap of faith. This is embracing the potential of my future. But I'm excited for the journey. 

Do you feel like you are embracing your dreams? Do your dreams scare you? Do your dreams motivate you?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gym: Version 2011

So, the New Year brought a renewed commitment for Ben and I and the Gym.


Why can't I just read and blog and craft and the pounds just shed? WHY?

Anyway, it has been a challenge for me. But, I am committed to it. For real.

Through all my anxiety of going to the gym, I love this sign:

Sign reads: Due to the damages caused on our equipment, proper workout attire is now required. This excludes denim shorts and pants, as well as khakis or anything with button and clasps. This will ensure longevity of our equipment. Thank you.
I love this sign. A lot. Mainly because there is this lady. She is about 60-65 years old. She is one of those work-out grandma types. You KNOW those types. I only ever see her ride the bike. Which is NOT a criticism - I ride the bike. But, she and I differ in our techniques of bike riding. I ride with shoes on. (You know, because it makes sense). She does not. She rides barefoot. Which is why I love this sign...I always wonder if she has ever read this sign?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just a Typical Day

We joke about it, Ben and I. That if anything crazy/weird/abnormal will occur, it will happen to us. No doubt.

So this morning when I walked out the door to go to work and saw a chihuahua on the roof of an awning on the second floor of our apartment, I panicked. And, then went screaming back into our apartment demanding that Ben get up. Because, HELLO! There was a dog on the roof!

All I kept thinking about - "Please don't let this dog commit suicide!"

I tried to bribe the dog off the roof with a treat. It did not work. It took Ben sweeping the dog - with a broom - towards me to save his life. It was an ordeal.

So, of course - the dog got an immediate bath (more trauma for his early morning adventure). And, then he settled in. Sorta.

We posted fliers. We posted an ad of  Right away. And the response - nothing.  Yet.

As much as Milo would probably love a brother.

We are a one-dog family. SO, Do you want a dog? Let us know!!!

Help find this little dog a home! He was rescued off an apartment awning and he is ready to go to a great home. He is very sweet and appears to be crate-trained. He does appear to have been (previously) abused, but he is a great dog. Please help him find a great home!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What I am Watching

Every couple of months (Fall, Spring, Summer), I update you all on a very important matter - my TV devotions. I will admit I have mixed emotions about this installment, because I'm not sure how I feel about some of these shows. But nevertheless, I am a devoted fan.

Top Chef - OMG. I seriously cannot get enough of this show. I am in LOVE. I watch the current season, I watch reruns, I own the cookbook. I love it.

Bachelor - Argh. I told myself (and Ben) that I would NOT be watching this season of the Bachelor. But, then Brad got slapped - on the 1st show. I was hooked. I can't help it. I love reality TV violence. *wink*

Pretty Little Liars - For as much as I have a love/hate relationship with this show, I will still faithfully watch each and every week. WHY? I have no idea. Maybe it is obligation or obsession. I'm not sure which.

Glee - I admit, I will still a suedo-fan. I won't fully commit but yet I watch it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!

Did you notice that The Biggest Loser is not listed? Oh yeah, about that...we aren't watching it. Ben has officially decided he cannot stand Allison. And, I am so ANNOYED that they have yet to reveal those two new trainers. I still feel obligation to it (my friend, Beth, sent me a Christmas Card with a mention of our mutual Biggest Loser devotion....eek!) because of Beth, I do still sneak-a-peek to the show.

What are you watching?

Friday, January 14, 2011

5 Things I Can't Live Without

I'm obsessed with BLOG STALKING. I can't help it. I adore blogs. My blog stalking habit has definitely evolved. It use to be strictly photography blogs. But, marriage (ironically) helped expand my blog horizons. So here are a couple of blogs I am currently enthralled with:

1. Tea And Biscuits - this cute little blog is precious. Fashion, British teenager. OMG. I love it. 
2. A Beautiful Mess - I've never wanted to move to Missouri until now, but this blog makes me want to move RIGHT NEXT DOOR (that isn't creepy at all!).
3. Apricot Tea - I love reading other people's perspectives. Especially when they differ from mine and make me think. This blog does just that. (For my conservative readers - you may find this blog offensive, so you have been forewarned.)
4. Mrs. Priss - Okay, if I had to choose, I would definitely want to be neighbors with Morgan. She is hilarious! (Again, I know this sounds creepy, but I'm definitely not trying to be)
5. At Second Street - the perfect mix of DYI and Craftiness.

PS - This is my first "5 Things I Can't Live Without" post for 2011! WAHOO!

Monday, January 10, 2011

To Remember: Snow Day

I don't want to forget this day.

The 2011 snow day. The day we romped in the snow. Early before the neighborhood kids had even gotten up to play. They slept in. But we were too eager. We had to play right away.

Or the coffee we made...that seemed to taste extra good because it was Narnia-like outside.

And, I don't want to forget how we did things we enjoyed separately, but together. We were content to just be. Ben and I. Together. Ben played "Call of Duty" and I sewed - all in the living room. I also don't want to forget how we would take turns pausing to display interest in the other. His game. My project.

I don't want to forget this day because it is days like this that make wonderful memories. Wonderful memories of living together.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Milo Vs. Wishbone

Growing up, I ADORED Wishbone the dog. (Please tell me someone else watched Wishbone?!?!?!)

Image Source
A couple of days ago, someone mentioned how much Milo looks like Wishbone. I think I melted. This was too much for my little heart. I love Wishbone. So, of course, this made me love Milo more. Officially.

Milo's Everyday wear: His Jacket.
Milo's Ice Cream Sundae Costume. Thanks to our friends Brittany & Marshall!
His Elf Costume. WHICH HE HATED.
I think the likeness to Milo and Wishbone is SO strong. I mean, LOOK AT THEIR WARDROBES! SO similar! But, I just might be biased.

On a different note, but still talking about is the hat I made Milo this weekend. I LOVE IT. But, he doesn't really enjoy wearing it. He always scoots it off his head and wears it like a scarf.
The Hat I made Milo.

And, this is how he REALLY wears it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Sick.

This has been my life. 

Apparently, I missed the memo. I need Puffs.

My Husband

A husband brings about many changes. Many.

For instance, if you had told me that I would be watching ESPN while waiting for my favorite show to come on…I would have LAUGHED at you. Scoffed, really. (To be fair, it’s really ONLY background noise…I promise.)

Or, that yesterday, I caught myself picking around onions while wondering why in the world I was doing such a thing. Ben! He hates onions. (In all honesty, it was the green onion stalks. And, they looked like grass…at least that is the story I’m sticking with.)

And, that I’m suddenly SO gangsta. Straight up. Fo’real. I gots more skillz than a pankcake flipper. (which, is a lot of skills, I am convinced.)

Yep, a husband definitely has made me a better person.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Sewing Project

As a kid, my Mom tried and tried to get me to sew. I refused. My thought process was always - "Why sew when you do? You can make everything I need!" Fast forward a couple of years, I was getting more and more in to craft projects and realized that I needed a sewing machine. Thankgoodness for my mother-in-law, Cindy. For Christmas, Cindy give me a sewing machine. And, I am SO excited to show off my first sewing project.

Our Living Room and Ben.
My pillow.
It's my first project, but I'm enjoying the process of learning how to operate a sewing machine and learning the art of patterns. While discovering that my Mom actually taught me SOMETHING, so I'm ahead of the curve. Overall, I've got some projects in mind - a table runner and some other things too (those, will remained nameless, since I have NO idea what those next projects will be!).

I'm open to suggestions, of course.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Baking Adventures

Yesterday, I spent the entire day baking and cooking. It was FANTASTIC! I am so proud of how my baked goods came out.

Cupcake Balls: I have been making these for the past couple of months. Each time, I get better and better; which is so encouraging considering the first time they were a complete flop! I recently got an ORDER for cake balls. I was a little stunned, but once I got over my shock, I took on the challenge (and decided to get creative!). Bakerella's Cake Pops cookbook is INCREDIBLE. I am so happy to have it.

Excuse the Cellphone image...It was late at night! (This is how I rang in 2011!)
For Christmas, I got The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook. Oh.My.Gosh. Can ANYTHING be better than that cookbook? I answer - I THINK NOT! I took one single bite of those yummy goodness creations and I seriously was whisked back to my Grandmother Allen's kitchen. It was a blissful bite.
PW's Cinnamon Rolls.
 Happy New Year!