Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stampin' Up! Occasions mini catalog

I am interrupting Weight Watcher weigh in because I wanted to share with you the new Occasions Mini catalog from Stampin' Up! I have been so excited about some of the new product in this release. You can download the PDF of the catalog Download Occasions09_US
Some of my favorites
  • Page six Great Friend
  • Page eight Scallop Oval punch
  • Page 16 Matchbox Bigz XL die (BigShot)
  • Page 17 Matchbox Messages
The Matchbox die is incredible and there are so many ideas that I have for this - here is a sample project from our stamp club
Supplies: Stamps (Matchbox Messages), Paper (Old Olive, Bella Rose DSP), Ink (Red Riding Hood), Ribbon (Red Riding Hood Tafetta), Acrylic sheets

I really love the colors of this card and it uses the new set Great Friend

Supplies: Stamps (Great Friend), Paper (Baja Breeze, Kiwi Kiss, Basic Gray), Ink (Basic Gray, Kiwi Kiss), Punch (Spiral)
I really like the versatility of the Top Note die cut - look at all of these ideas!!!
Supplies: Stamps (Great Friend), Assorted patterned paper, Ribbon (Baja Breeze stripped Grosgrain), Ink (Pixie Pink)
This one features the Manhattan flower impressions die and the new scallop punch
Cute card using the owl from the new set Forest Friends
This is my favorite project! Supplies: Top Note (die), Stamps (Oval All, Forest Friends), Punch (word window, large oval, Scallop oval), Ribbon (real red, chocolate chip) For this you use two Top Notes and in between is the bottom of a small bag (purchased at Party City). Creative packaging made easy!
Check back tomorrow for some more ideas! If you have any questions about Stampin' Up! product just let me know - you can also check out my Stampin' Up! site here.

Last day in DC

Beautiful blue skies for the last day of the trip! Now we are returning the car and heading to the airport.
I had some serious battles with motion sickness this trip - between Kirk's driving and exhaust fumes from buses/trucks I haven't been feeling well. Not looking forward to the plane ride through questionable weather. Plus the plane fumes that enter the cabin right before take off or when you land - is anyone else sensitive to this? I wonder why they can't prevent that and it can't be good for you...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Packing Tactics - clothes

Packing clothes for a trip can be a daunting task. Over the years I have developed a plan that works for me - it does take some initial planning but I haven't gone wrong yet.
First I always make a list - I should have a template on Word but I usually just find a memo pad (like my Kung Fu Panda one). I start making a list of essentials - underwear, pjs, socks, blow dryer, make up bag, etc. I MUST make this list and as it is packed, I cross it off. If I don't make this list inevitably I will forget it. The next thing on the list are the days that I am going to be traveling with space left between each so you can write. I denote important activities that need a different attire - like BBQ on Friday night.
For each day I put outfits together - by doing this I can see where I can cross-over and wear something twice (yes, this is OKAY) and make sure that EVERYTHING coordinates together. When traveling I try to stay pretty neutral: black, brown and white with a few bright colored pieces. Staples when traveling: white long sleeve t-shirt, black cami, black pants and dark fitted jean jacket. These items are ALWAYS in my suitcase when the trip is a week long or more.
Above is a small linen bag - I have several of these. Each one holds different undergarments. For example I have individual ones for underwear, bras, swimsuits, and socks/tights. It seems excessive but I know exactly where these items are - they aren't swimming around in no man's land at the bottom of my suitcase and I know they are CLEAN! Also I like to think that it keeps the TSA from rummaging through all of my undergarments. Again that is what I would like to 'think'.
TIP: When I get to the hotel I take the plastic dry cleaning bag from the closet to use as my dirty laundry bag. Makes it easy when I get home to drop that bag in laundry room and take everything else upstairs.
Always try to take my workout clothes - one less excuse I have to use the hotel gym. It really doesn't take up that much room - but don't forget socks. I put them in my running shoes.
Halfway packed...running shoes at the bottom and things that I don't have to worry about wrinkles
Shoes and shoe bags - I allow myself three pairs of shoes. 1) dressy heels. 2) travel shoes. 3) flats. I don't count my running shoes because I don't wear them outside of working out. Shoe bags - total must! Whether or not you have $500 Manolo Blahniks or $30 Target flats. The key to having them in bags is organization/easy access and also to keep your clothes clean. Grocery bags work perfect for this too!
Three quarters of the way packed - there is the dark denim jacket...
Packed. Denim trousers on the top because those will need to come out as soon as we get to the hotel. I try to put the item that will most likely get wrinkled on the top. Then on top of that is a coat - just in case it's cold when we get there, it's easy to access on top.
Ready to go - hopefully by now we are more than half way through our trip. Can't wait to post updates from the trip and see if I forgot anything. I am also hoping to take some candid shots of traveling...for example this guy:
Standing in front of the luggage shute isn't going to make your luggage come any faster. It would have been nice of him to stand at least three feet back so others could actually retrieve their luggage, that WAS coming out. Karma came through - another guy had a heavy case and as he was trying to get it off the belt he swung it into this guy knocking him over. I don't think it was on purpose...;)
Let me know if you have any questions or any tips to share - Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Strawberry Street Cafe

Having lunch today in the Fan at the Strawberry Street Cafe. (www.strawberrystreetcafe.com)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turn out the Lights!

Interrupting my Packing Tactics for an important announcement...
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 28th is Earth Hour. World Wildlife Fund is asking people to turn off their lights for one hour at 8:30 pm local time. Learn more about this day here!

Spring break

In the last five minutes this group of kids have been asked three times to keep quiet, been asked five times not to scream, and not to sit or lean on the rail

American History

And a TON of kids!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Packing Tactics - on the plane

Today is all about the essentials on the plane. Because of security I travel VERY light with my carry on - I don't mind waiting for my luggage if that means that I don't have to go thru security with it, lift it over my head on the plane to stuff it in an overhead compartment, OR keep track of it. I take my chances with the airlines losing my luggage. In the 15 years that I have been traveling I have had problems with my luggage twice. That is 30 weeks of travel each year, three to four days a week - in my busy days. So my odds have been pretty good.
I choose one of two bags to carry on - briefcase or purse. The camera bag is always a carry on. In this weeks case it's going to be breifcase and camera bag - the purse is packed empty in the suitcase.
I bet you can guess what my number one item is? WATER! I pack an empty water bottle by Nalgene in the 16oz size. Then once I am through security I find a water fountain and fill up. Sometimes if the Starbucks isn't busy I can get them to fill it for me with tap water. Ask with a big smile!
  • You need to stay hydrated when traveling. Drink plenty of fluids
    (preferably water) before, during, and after your flight. Not only will
    you feel better, but keeping up your fluid reserves also helps your
    body ward off a whole other host of maladies. Staving off dehydration
    will also decrease your risk of getting jet lag
  • Put plenty of moisturizer on your hands and pile on the lip balm
  • If you wear contacts, use your glasses instead
  • When you land try to spend at least 15 minutes outside breathing fresh air - I don't care if it's below freezing or 105 degrees (F) - you need fresh air!
Since this is a pleasure trip I will not be bringing my laptop - one of my resolutions for the new year, no work on vacation. I have my iPhone and that is all the connection that I need. But this also means that I don't have to bring my rolling briefcase. Instead I travel with this bag by Latico - I found one on their home site in black here. Which would be better than the pink one that I bought here, but they no longer carry. This bag is pretty high maintenance because of the light color and I have to clean with leather cleaner each time I travel. But I love Latico because their leather is super soft!
This case will hold my writers notebook, wallet, iPhone, passport, travel documents, water bottle, couple magazines, one book (but now I have a KINDLE!), pens, lipstick/lipbalm, vitamin C spray, Airborne tablets, advil, moisturizer and sunglasses in case. This fits nicely "under the seat in front of you".
My travel camera bag is from Crumpler six million dollar home.

This is where most of my camera items are stored on a regular basis, but for a trip I take my SLR camera (of course) and two lens's - 85mm and 28-13mm, point & shoot camera, extra cards, chargers (for cameras & phone), portable tri pod, and extra battery. Flash stays home and so does the big zoom lens for this trip. This bag can fit "underneath the seat in front of you" too. Plus it can also hold your water bottle or any other extra things that don't fit in the briefcase. For shorter trips I usually take my other Crumpler bag (2 million dollar home), camera, one lens and charger.
One tip with chargers - any kind of charger I always buy an extra one. The spare is always in my travel cases so I don't take the one that I use at home. So if I leave it in a hotel - I am not S.O.L. when I get home! There is a great case that I use from Mimi - mini stamp case that holds all of these chargers for me in a zippered pouch. Ziploc bag is good too!
Neck pillow - try to find one that is a pillow. I could never get the blow up kind to be the right puffiness and the seams always dug into my neck or snagged my clothes. The blow up kind is easy to travel with but we are looking for comfort, especially when you have a nine hour travel day (12 with the time change)
I either use it for my neck or my back - which ever is bothering me. I have had this one for years - it has a removable fleece cover that I can wash and also a fabric loop so I can attach it to one my bags so I don't leave it somewhere. I don't like the airline pillows because they don't get washed! yuck. The other item of comfort that I bring is a scraf - I have made a considerable investment in cashmere wraps and scarves. But these have made flying very comfortable and they are easy to wear on the plane without adding bulk! I always look for tissue weight and airy knit in basic colors, to start your collection.
Here are some travel people that I follow:
Jessica - she has some travel posts that are great! Since she just had a baby I am sure she is going to have some great tips for traveling with babies. I also follow her amazing fashion...
Jennifer Moody - who used to have a great blog, but is now on Facebook only...she is a traveling pro. If you are on FB definitely be her friend - tell her I sent you.
Monday is packing the suitcase and just a heads up - I don't wrap each outfit in plastic like Martha. Jeez - I guess if I had someone packing for me I would, but that is over the top. Happy Thursday!


Love it when airports have power islands so you can re charge and be ready for the next flight.
Also this is the first trip with the Kindle and so far it is pretty cool. Finished reading Gate House and two days worth of USA Today. The best thing is my briefcase is light and I can choose my next book from my "library". Hmmmmm what to read next???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Packing tactics

Blog updates: I have linked some 'pages' on the left hand side of the blog. This is quick access to some of the popular posts. Healthy living I will be adding to - for right now it has a quick link to my daily routine posts and the Advocare products that I use. My office & craft room have the links to the daily posts going through my organization. And the Daily blogs page list all the blogs that I visit on a daily basis.

Since I have been getting ready to pack for our trip I thought it would be a good time to get my travel tips on the blog! I used to dread packing and it was worse after 9/11 - what you could take or more what you couldn't take. Over packing and under packing. Number of bags and the weight of them. I have been fortunate enough that I travel so much I stay up to date on most of the requirements. Today I am going to share with you some of my packing tactics. This will work for a 10 day trip or a weekend trip - month long trips might have to be addressed in another post.

I always like to start with the basics - suitcases and other cases. Right now I have two pieces of luggage (not matching yet) that I am trying out for size and functionality. They are on the inexpensive side of the spectrum but have been holding up very well for the amount of travel that Kirk and I do. Kirk has his own luggage but from time to time I see him borrowing mine...he has NICE matching luggage so go figure!

First piece is from TARGET. It is Swiss Gear Aubonne 24" in brown.
I just bought this about three months ago so it's still available at the store and online. There were a few things I wanted to try out with this piece: size, weight and the spinner wheels. One of my biggest pet peeves is when you need to move fast and you are trying to wheel your bag and it has a mind of it's own. These spinner wheels allow you to move the bag in anyway possible quickly. LOVE it so far - I was worried about the durability of the spinner wheel but so far so good. Size - this has been the perfect size for five to 10 day trips and allows for purchases along the way. It is also good for the weekend trips that require a great deal of wardrobe changes. Weight - this piece is light when empty! Always key when you are looking at luggage - if it's already heavy when you pick it up empty move on to the next one. Remember you are not always going to have help picking this thing up so you better be able to lift it full by yourself! I also love the color - it's dark so it hides scuff marks and it's different from black and it's easy to spot at baggage claim.

The second piece I use is from Costco. Kirkland brand 20" in black.
We have had this one for a couple of years. The size is perfect for the weekend trip. My only hang up with this suitcase is that it is heavy empty - durable, but heavy for a 20" case. So when I am ready to graduate to a new one I know that the 20" size works well for my weekend trips. I am just going to look for something lighter and of course not black and from Costco. Do you know how many people out there that travel have this exact bag??? You need to put an identifier on this piece! I have some of these tags and they are pretty funny - even more funny when someone picks up my bag and reads it.

Here are the toiletry bags that go with me every trip.
This first bag holds my neccessities like tooth brush (I travel with my sonicare), toothpaste, all the stuff for my face in smaller containers, medication, perfume, body soap, nail stuff, razor, cotton swabs, etc. I have had this case for year and I like it because it stands up and has a small foot print for a hotel size bathroom. It is also very well padded! This stays under my sink ready to go - everything in her except my toothbrush is a duplicate from my at home stash. I never forget a thing because it is already packed - I replenish when I get home and before I put away. This is made by Travelon. I have paired down some of my containers so I am looking for a smaller solution but haven't found anything yet.
This next container is made by Lug - this piece is fairly new to me and so far I love the size. This holds everything that has to do with my hair, less the hair dryer. I have smaller travel bottles for most things except my mousse and it is again always packed and ready to go. It also holds my extra brush, hair clips and hair bands. So why not combine this container with the one above? Keeping everything organized separately makes for easy access. Especially when you are sharing a hotel room - Stacy and I make great roommates, when she is in the shower I can be doing my hair out in the room. All I need out of my suitcase is this container - the other one can stay in the bathroom. Make sense? Also if I need to find something I know that my cotton swabs are not in this container so I can totally skip over it.
This is my make up case from TARGET! It's by Contents and I couldn't find anything on the website but I am sure they have a great selection at the stores. I hope this thing never dies or I may have to sew one up... my make up is the one thing that I don't have double of so this is what I use when I am home too. So it was important to find one that could hang up and not take up any counter space or drawer space. Everything in here is my basic make up - if I know that we have a few evening events I might throw in a darker shadow but for the most part this is already to go. What to look for is three compartments so you can divide by your face: base, cheeks, lips in the bottom compartment. Eyes in the middle and the top holds all of my brushes. No digging around or broken containers!

Those are the items that always need to fit in any suitcase - either for a weekend, week or month. So when I go looking for luggage - guess what? I take these items with me because they are must haves.

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” - Paul Theroux

Tomorrow will cover how I pack my technology and essentials for on the plane....Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

March for Babies!

It is that time again -March for Babies is back in Clark County!! My sister is proud to represent iQ Credit Union for this great cause. It is very clear exactly who we are walking for -- all babies. It's very exciting to be a part of March for Babies for the second year. Please support my sister participation by making a donation.  Especially in times like today-every penny helps save BABIES.

Why March for Babies? Because the March of Babies champions the needs of moms and babies in our community and across the nation. The money we raise for March for Babies will help:
 - support all-important research offering preventions and solutions for babies born too soon or with birth defects
 - educate women on things they can do to increase their chances of having a healthy baby
 - provide comfort and information to families with a newborn in intensive care
 - push for newborn screening and health insurance for all pregnant women and children
Contributing to her walk online is fast, easy and secure. You can donate directly from her personal webpage with a credit card or PayPal. If you prefer, she can also accept cash or check. Just click the appropriate box on her webpage.

You can also join iQ's team and walk on Saturday, April 25th. To be considered a paid walker you must raise or donate to yourself a minimum of $25.00 by April 21st.

Thank you in advance for all your support!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicken salad recipe from Cindy

2 chickens, cooked and shredded
3/4 cup diced celery
1 cup grapes, halved
1 cup mandarin oranges
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Herb Italian spices
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients and toss lightly. Chill before serving.  Serve w/lettuce and whole grain roll.

I haven't made this yet but I am looking forward to the first warm day that I can enjoy it!
I have a very busy two days ahead of me - heading out of town always brings it up a notch...Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More inspiration

I thought I would have my make-up regimen post ready for you today but I need to hold off for some more information. So today I am going to have another inspirational Friday to get you through the weekend.

Here is another album that I finished (over that same weekend) that, again, was inspired by Ali. Cocoa Daisy put together a wonderful kit and I had really good intentions of putting the together before December 2008 but it just never happened. I thought about it a lot - but it never came together. NOW I am ready for December 2009 and I am so excited! This was a fun freestyle design and just plain fun to try new ways to put the 'working' pages together.
For the album cover I used a whole sheet of MM conversation stickers and used liquid glue to attach it directly to the acrylic cover of the album on the back side. Great idea AnnaRobyn!

If you are anything 'like' me - getting your December daily album ready RIGHT now is a great idea! Now I just have to remember that I have it...working on the project at an off time of the year also allowed me to think of some great Christmas's that I had as a child. It was nice not to feel pressured with the holidays to get this done, I think it's going to be a great way to journal the month and add pictures in. You will be seeing a lot of it in December on this blog!
Happy Friday to everyone and have a F-U-N weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I Scrapbook album

This little album that I completed at the Crop Away weekend was a project by Kristina Contes. It was her class at the Get Croppin' event in Washington DC back in 2008. I think it was called Why I Scrapbook. Love projects like these because they, to me, are little reminders or self reflections. If you want to take a really good class for this check out Glimpses by Stacy Julian. You will need to set aside some time to go through the worksheet but you will look at this album over and over again.

I followed the structure directions for the book but I have left off most of the decorative pieces.
Favorite part of this album is that it is primarily made up of envelopes! You could probably keep some hidden journaling in there. I also LOVE those vinyl letters by Heidi Swapp - I hope I can get some more of those. If anyone knows where I can purchase some let me know.

Going through projects like this always makes me more aware that my life is not exactly what I planned. There are some parts that were... I always knew that I would marry my soul mate some day - later than most, I was 30. I knew that I wouldn't have a family with children (choice) - it would be made up of dogs and farm animals. I am still waiting on the farm animals. I pursued a career in art - but ended up in marketing/ business, which has now come full circle to meld it all together. I didn't plan on my parents divorce after 34 years, nor have an estranged little brother. I have been amazed of all the great friendships that I have made because of technology. I knew that I would always travel (a lot) and would always appreciate coming home. My life: It's a nice ebb and flow of the good and the not so good.

Enjoy your Thursday!