Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why do I do this every time I read a good {great} book?
I devour it like it's the last book I'll ever read
I sneak in reading any chance I get.
So that I carry the book around in the car with me and read at stop lights.
I read while I'm getting dressed.
I read while the kids are playing for 3 minutes in the other room.
Not entirely an enjoyable type of reading, but I do it anyway.
Instead of just taking my time.
Reading slowly, thoughtfully, contently for an hour before bed.
I suck it all up until it's dry and then I'm done.
And I am sad that it's over.
I miss the characters already.
And I think, did I miss something during my hurricane of a reading process?
Always the same regret with each book.
Yet, I don't change my ways.
What would you call that?

Goodbye Skeeter, Minny and Abi
Mariel informed me they're making a movie.
I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where I Belong

When I was thirteen, the summer of my transition year into high school, I went on a week long camping trip to the Big Bear Mountains with the local YMCA, a long-held tradition by all siblings in my family.
After two days I was begging my fellow campers for change, calling my mom on the pay phone, telling her I was miserable.
I proceeded to call her every few hours until after day 3 I believe it was, my mom and sister came and picked me up.  I was severely homesick just 2 hours away from home, and my family to this day does not let me live it down.  Pathetic I know.

Let's not even talk about my experience "going away" to college to UCSB, again, just 2 hours away.  Let's just say that I used to longingly pine over our local Target, since Santa Barbara had no Target back then, and I had an apartment that hardly ever got slept in.  My roommates loved me.

So now, when I talk about leaving California to go and live on some acreage of land in the middle of some farming town back East, they laugh, roll their eyes, say "Okay sure Andrea."

Oh have I not mentioned before my desire to leave the traffic infested, rat-race state of California when we retire some day to live a life on a farm in either Virginia or Connecticut?  Think Baby Boom or Funny Farm.  No, I've never been to either state.  And yes, I do get cold when the weather drops below 70 degrees.  I want a white Christmas some day dammit, and I am going to get it!  But that is all besides the point okay?

So what is the point then?  Gosh can you tell I haven't blogged in a few days, with my long drawn out stories?
Okay, so the point is, it occurred to me that the place I've been looking for to retire is sitting in our own backyard.  And yes, I know retirement is a good 25 years off, but I like to have dreams.  We all have to have dreams right? 

This past weekend Art and I spent some time in the Santa Ynez Valley with our dear friends the Ireland's and Wards.  Of course we had a fantastic time being with friends, whooping it up, wine tasting and not having to worry about children to tend to.  Great food was had and many laughs shared.  I love hanging with these people.  The house we stayed at was comfortable and cozy, and the grounds were magnificent.   

One of the highlights of the trip though was sitting outside in the morning, drinking my coffee, reading The Help, and listening to the birds chirp.  Nothing but the birds.  No freeway noise, no trash trucks, no neighbors, no school traffic.  I tweeted on Saturday "this is where I belong."  I was so happy and grateful and just at peace looking at over the rolling hills that I was brought to tears on several occassions.  Yes, I am a crier.

And when I saw a deer on the side of the road, I had to laugh thinking of the scene in Funny Farm where Chevy Chase yells, "Cue the the carolers!"

So what does all this have to do with my tendency to get home-sick?  Well I figure, Santa Barbara County is now a second home to me having went to college there, and visited there multiple times a year, every year, for the past 10 years.  It's close to Southern California, where all of our family and friends reside.  It's small and quaint, yet with some style so I won't feel like "that crazy lady from California".  There's wine everywhere, and really, how can one ever get sick of wine tasting.  And I can have some land!  I can just picture it now.  Garden off in the corner 1/2 acre, chicken coop in the other corner.  Maybe even a horse stable.  Oh and if we could move there in time we would have the perfect grounds for Taylor and Sydney to get married on (though not to each other).  I can see it so clearly it's almost palpable.

The only problem is that it does not snow here, so I won't have my white Christmas.  But we can't have everything right?

So there you go, how many people can go on vacation and come home with their retirement planned all figured out?  I like to multi-task.  Now to figure out the main part of retirement, finances.   

Here are some pictures that highlight our way-to short stay.  There are a lot of pictures so I apologize in advance.  Enjoy :)
But before you leave, please tell me, do any of you dream about retiring somewhere someday?  Where do you belong?
Aaron giving us a tour of the property
 First tasting of the trip
We went to Mattei's Tavern for dinner the first night and celebrated Art's & Allison's birthdays
Out and about in Los Olivos the next day
Sarloos & Sons was a fun tasting room with a modern vintage style
We went to Blackjack Wineries as seen in Sideways and I asked the pourer if they were on Facebook or Twitter.  She replied in her best Brookly accent, "Nah, we don't do any of that promoting crap!  We don't need to!"  Ironically as you look around there are pictures and screenplays covering every inch of that place.
This was at Carina Cellars and the wine was so great, as well as the pourer Christine.  She was a lot of fun.
This was at Coquelicot
And cue the deer!
And finally, here is me saying goodbye to the Valley, until next time we meet again friend, until next time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Playgrounds & Lollipops - Eclipse Premiere

Alright guys, don't be jealous when I tell you that I got to walk the red carpet tonight.

It was incredible, really.
With the deafening screams and popping lightbulbs, I thought I was at the Eclipse premiere.
I kept looking for Edward and Bella.  Jacob? 

Oh wait, this isn't a Hollywood red carpet...I got a little confused there for a minute.
Phew.  Don't worry, no paparazzi to elude.
Just some dentists and oral surgeons.

Yes, you heard me right, dentists.
And hygienists.

All bad attempts at joking aside, it was a fun night celebrating the opening of one of our dearest and most loyal clients, Dr. Silegy.  The doctor is a renowned oral surgeon and we celebrated the opening of his second location in Corona Del Mar tonight.
The red carpet and step and repeat was a fun added touch.

Dress on sale from Anthro
Shoes on sale from Kohl's (Vera Wang line)
If I told you how much I got them both for you would be jealous, so I won't.
Handbag used as clutch Louis Vuitton

psst...okay, I have to tell you.  Those shoes were $7.00!!!  Lesson learned, always cruise the extra 40% off of clearance shoe racks at Kohl's.


 {this picture has nothing to do with this post at all, 
I just added it because it makes me smile}

Happy Friday friends!

Do you notice anything different over here?

I've been making some changes with the help of some friends.
Heather designed my new logo
Sarah Ann has been working on my blog
Both have been super accommodating and sweet through my various changes.
Seems I change my mind a lot, and am also resistant to change.

The blog is coming along, but it's not done yet.
It still feels a little impersonal to me and not quite like home, but I am working on it.
So please be patient while I transition :)

Today Heather at Blessed Little Nest will be hosting a giveaway from me!
I have added a ton of new things to the Etsy shop, so please stop by and have a look.

For now we're off to Santa Ynez for a little weekend away with our friends, sans kiddos.  Lounging, reading, eating and wine tasting will be involved.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This & That

Happy Tuesday Friends!  I plan to take the next few days off of blogging but wanted to leave you with a few snippets of what we've been up to and what I've got going on.

1. First, besides for a little less computer time, the main reason I'm taking a bit of a break this week is to sew up some new items for my Etsy shop.  Heather over at Blessed Little Nest will be hosting a giveaway by moi on Friday so I need to focus on filling up the shop as much as I can.  I have a few cute things to add that I hope you enjoy.

2. We are hitting our summer list hard and heavy and have checked off a few things already.  Remember, Taylor's break started at the end of May, and she starts Kindergarten in early August, so we have a few precious weeks left.  Yesterday we spent 10 hours at Knott's Berry Farm.  Yes, you heard me right, 10 hours.  I love Knott's for kids.  Camp Snoopy has the perfect mix of rides for little guys like my Syd, and there's plenty of mini-roller coaster type rides for Taylor's age.  There are hardly ever any lines and the rides are straightforward and simple.  Am I the only one that thinks most of the childrens rides at Disneyland are freaky and scary?  Sure Knott's isn't all sparkly and shiny-new like Disneyland, but for the price and adventure you can't beat it.  Here's my favorite picture of the day.  This is Taylor mid-air on the dragon swing.  Anyone else remember this awesome ride at Knott's?  In all my years of going there, this is still one of my favorites (as well as Montezuma's Revenge).

3. Did you know that I write and photograph for Chartreuse's blog?  Chartreuse is a local home furnishings and accessories store and the prices and items are incredible.  Wendy the Owner and Allison the Manager are so accommodating and give stellar customer service.  Not to mention they have fab taste.  If you can hop on over to their blog and say hi.  And may I suggest you become a follower?  Psst...Little inside tip: They are going to do a giveaway at the end of the month and you have to be a follower to enter to win. 

4. I wanted to ask, what do you all think about Comments and whether you think it's important that the blogger respond or acknowledge the comment in some form or fashion?  I try to respond to each comment personally by email, but a lot of commenters don't have an email address attached to their blog profile, so then I try to search their blog for an email address and sometimes I end up empty handed.  So then I try to leave a comment in the comments section but I find that they often don't go back and check.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that i like to acknowledge comments because I always appreciate it when a blogger acknowledges my comments.  I have actually stopped commenting on some blogs where there was zero communication exchanges at all.  So do you guys even care about this sort of thing or am I the only one that is sensitive in this way?

5. Finally, we are out of diapers over here.  I will spare you all the sordid details, but just wanted to say that sometimes children (i.e., boys) need to be pushed into things.  My Syd is a perfect example.  I kept waiting and waiting for him to be ready, but I think he was just ready for me to tell him he was ready.  After 1 week accident free, I can officially throw out the damn diapers!

Alright friends. back to life.  Sewing, working and reading (The Help) is keeping me occupied.  I hope you have wonderful things occupying your time right now as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18th, 2010

Chartreuse to take pictures of new arrivals & do blog post!

Maxi Dress: Target
Sandals: BCBG
Bracelets: Various ??
Scarf: Vintage

I had to run into Chartreuse this morning and I debated wearing my bathing suit and cover-up since we're heading out to the beach later on.  I decided that no employer, no matter how well you know them, should ever see you in your bikini and cover-up unless you are at a company party.  Even then???
So I slipped on a comfy maxi dress and added a head scarf to amp up the hipster vibe.  Hopefully if I look somewhat hip they won't notice I'm just a mom with a camera that sometimes has to bring her children into said employers to take pictures, and have said children throw huge tantrums while taking pictures.

On second thought, I think I would have been better off wearing the bikini...better distraction than the screaming children.

And beware, this is the first what is surely to be many posts of me in maxi dresses this summer.
Oh and P.S. those are decorated sock puppets that my daughter is wearing on her foot and my son is wearing on his arm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guide to Crafting Sanity

First, thank you all so much for your comments on my post yesterday.  Your words of encouragement mean a lot, as always, and I just really appreciate the feeling of not being alone.
So while I may not be mom of the year, there is one thing I can do right, and that is set up some good crafting fun for my kids!  We're big crafters over here, doing crafts at least 4 times a week.  Crazy crafting fools if you will.

This is our craft closet.  Believe it or not, I know where {almost} everything is!
I've been collecting various crafting supplies for the last 3 years, and here is what I've acquired, and learned in the process.  Consider this a summer's guide to keeping the kids happy and occupied with crafting goodness!  Thanks Heather for the amazing summer guide you have provided us with all week long!

First, I am big on ORGANIZATION!  I kept finding myself getting so frustrated with having to reorganize our craft supplies every week because they were just being thrown back into bins by loving grandmas, well-meaning husbands and super fun babysitters.  So I set up a relatively easy system of putting big category items into big bins.  I have bins for:
         *Paint Supplies
         *Miscellaneous Art Supplies

Within those bins I have sepeerated other supplies into labeled Ziploc bags
I have also separated holiday themed craft supplies into their own bags
This has saved my sanity!  Well at least my sanity as it relates to children's art supplies :)

Here's a looky into our painting bins
The contents of our paint bin are:
*washable and acrylic paints
*face paints (this can occupy a few hours)
*liquid water colors (these are SO much more vibrant and easy to use than traditional water colors)
*Do A Dots
*fun and cheap paint easels that easily wash up (I think they cost 89 cents)
*package of plastic paint droppers that are fun to experiment with

 Our Miscellaneous bin holds items like:
*Mod Podge
*pipe cleaners
*clothes pins (these are fun & easy to sprinkle with glue and then use to hold art work on a ribbon)
*blank notecards (best $9 I ever spent at Target!)
*glitter glue
*stickers (peeling stickers are so great for developing fine motor skills)
*stamp pads & stamps (I pick these up from dollar bins at Target and craft stores)
*cheap & easy craft items that are easy to decorate when I'm not feeling too creative (today we painted the mini bird houses and fans, both on sale at Joann's for $1)

Tattoos you ask?  These keep them entertained for easily an hour! 
The only down side is having to Photoshop tattoos out of a blog header picture (see above for PS'ed version)
One last thing is our drawing table.  I leave out markers, crayons, colored pencils, a few pairs of scissors, glue sticks and a big pad of paper.  I also have been printing out a lot of coloring sheets for free from the internet.  They seem to like these a lot more than actual coloring books, probably because they can pretty much print out whatever character, animal, or princess they like.  My friend Nicole prints out activity sheets for her boys which is an idea I'm going to have to steal soon.

I have found that by always having these items out on hand, the kids draw and color a lot more.
Lately we've also been getting a lot of use out of this learn to draw book I bought a few years back from an Usborne party.  Taylor has been practicing drawing her animals and Sydney has me draw them, and he colors them in.
So that's it!  Happy Crafting Everyone!
But first, please tell, do you have any cool art supplies or crafts we need to get our hands on?  I'm always looking for ideas!


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