I dabble…

What can I say? I’m a dabbler.

I love having hobbies and love them each passionately.

I read. I write. I paint. I sew. I garden. I bike ride. I organize. I bake. I make jewelry.

If I were to include my teenage years to that list would be much, much longer.

One of my all time favorite thing to create would be home decor crafts, especially holiday items. Pieces that are stored for a majority of the year until their time comes. I like the specialness of a good holiday piece.

I also hate paying retail for holiday items. In fact, I refuse. If there’s something I see that is seasonal that I can’t make myself I will wait until after that holiday to get it at 50%, 60% or even 75% off the original price. As soon as I come home I make myself put it away in it’s appropriate holiday storage box. Next time that holiday comes around I open the box and say “Ah! I forgot I bought that!” and that my friends it magic to me.

Right after Christmas this year, I had been crushing on all things vintage red truck carrying a Christmas tree. Since that season is typically busy I never got around to making anything red-truckish. After the New Year I broke out my watercolors and painted an item to stash away for next year.

Below is a before and after image of outlining my watercolor. It really takes it from flat to POP. If you’re a dabbler like me, add a little outline to make your work a little more professional.

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Memorial Journal

Confession: My mom passed away suddenly a little over two years ago. I’ve slowly been dealing with my grief over this time period, but this post isn’t about me. It’s about my two kids. My mom’s only grandchildren. The kids she took care of while my husband and I worked outside of the home.

When this tragedy struck my family my children were two and four. Still in diapers. Still babies in my eyes. My son, the oldest, remembers more about my mom. She took care of him since he was an infant. He has a longer list of memories with her but recently he mentioned that he couldn’t remember somethings about her.

My husband and I have made an effort to keep her memory vivid in our house for us and especially for our kids. Photos of my mom are everywhere. We speak about her a lot. And we tell the kids stories. We want them to remember her forever. She was, after all, a huge part of their lives.

When my son mentioned he doesn’t remember somethings it gave me a swift kick in the butt that I needed. Right after I lost my mom I ordered a notebook. A notebook from one of those photo gift sites. I added photos of my mom to the front. Since then, it has been collecting dust. Over this time period my daughter grabbed it and stuck stickers on every single page. I was surprised she had that much patience and I was happy with it, because it’s something my mother wouldn’t have minded.

I’ve been jotting notes in it here and there. Creating a memorial journal for my kids. Collecting memories, thoughts and events that involved my mom for my kids to have. This is something they can treasure and have to remember her and to go to when they miss her or feel like they can’t remember fun things about her.

Here’s a list of events I plan on covering:

  • Birth stories (how my mom was involved in it)
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Special things about her house
  • Special things about our house
  • Her hosting style
  • Her cats with my kids

Call it a memorial journal, call it a memory book, the name doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get to relive these wonderful memories through pen and paper. My kids will have something hand written by their mother about their grandmother.

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

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  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 496
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- YES!

 

Synopsis: Alice awakes from a fall during her spin class to a room full of strangers. Or are they? After being taken to the hospital she realizes that she can’t seem to remember many things except that she is a newlywed to Nick and is pregnant with her first baby. Yet, her husband isn’t at the hospital waiting for her or calling to check on her. It is then revealed that she is suffering from a great deal of memory loss, a great deal as in 10 years of her life.

Things I liked: I was hesitant about this book at first. I thought it be yet another simple easy-to-read fiction. I assumed it was just another, as I call them, “beach read” with nothing to take away from it just pure entertainment. Happy to report, I couldn’t be more wrong. This book made me think about my life in so many different ways. Who doesn’t compare one’s current self to the younger self we were ten years ago? Ten years younger without the increased amount of stress, without the aging worries, without ten years of debt, without ten years of making or trying to have children, a lot of life happens over ten years. And what about if all those memories and life lessons were just gone one day?

Would your younger self approve of your current self? Would you even like yourself? What decisions would you find yourself regretting? What things have you lost over that time period? What new things are you happy with? These are all questions Alice finds herself not only asking but having to live in a very blunt way.

The author takes each of these personal lessons Alice goes through and makes you feel them right along with her. You’ll find yourself annoyed with her, feeling sad with her and contrarily routing for her. Prepare to be emotionally invested in this novel.

I will avoid any spoilers but the ending was just magical.

Things I didn’t like: The beginning was a bit slow and then I was completely hooked. You won’t be able to put this book down once you’re about half way through. Also, there’s one character (the adopted grandmother) that is a narrator throughout the book that I found confusing. I’m not sure if it was necessary to make this character a narrator as after I finished I couldn’t understand her role.

A mom’s DIY Halloween Costume.

What to wear when you’re a working professional and a mom for Halloween?

Tough question, I debated for weeks! We had a Halloween Costume Contest at my office and I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a silly costume. I tried to do a group theme but we all couldn’t agree. At the last minute I declared I was going solo and was inspired by several posts and came up with this creation: An Instagram Selfie Lover.

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All I needed was cardboard, paint and patience. It was fun to use throughout the day and a lot of people got a kick out of it. I flipped through a magazine and found the profile picture very easily. That was a last minute personalization. Since I work in the marketing department it was perfect for the office. Although I didn’t win the contest, I was proud of my paint job.

Easy & office appropriate!

Book Review: Veil of Roses

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

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Stats:

  • Cost- $13.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 307
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes

Synposis: Main character, Tamila Soroush lives in Iran and is a dreamer, in a country that doesn’t encourage dreaming. Her parents want a better life for her so they purchase her a one way ticket to America where her sister lives. Once she steps foot on American soil she has exactly three months unit her Visa expires and has one goal to focus on. Finding an Iranian-American to marry so she can stay in the country and receive a green card. The book takes place over her three-month stay. Think Sex and the City, rated PG13 meets Iranian arranged marriages. Enticing, right?

Things I liked: I adored the main character, Tami and her fearless journey into the unknown. I love the education you gain about what it’s like being a woman in Iran versus America. How we can buy lacy bras in Victorias Secret with no shame, hold hands with our significant other in public, fall in love with anyone male or female and even go for a walk alone. This book isn’t just a love story, it’s a story about being a woman and going after what you want.

Things I didn’t like: Not to be cliche, but honestly the thing I didn’t like about the book was that it leaves you wanting more. The book ends at a pivotal point for Tami and I finished with my jaw dropped that it was the end. This is the type of book you will want to gift to every female that you know.

Nerd Alert: I loved this book so much, I wrote to the author and expressed my thoughts. She replied that she was thrilled I discovered her work via a used book sale at my local library. The best news is that there is a sequel to Tami’s story called Dreaming in English, which I am now currently reading.

Friday thoughts

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This quote may seem a little unseasonal given we’ve just entered the month of October, but here at the beach the weather has been amazing. The crisp air calls for jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops.

This week has been a busy one in the mainstream news media. Each week I try to bring you stories that haven’t made it to the mainstream but I believe are important to working women.

The Tragedy of Beverly Carter. In my day job, I work with realtors and they have been following this story closely. This Arkansas realtor was doing what hundreds of agents do every. single. day. It can sometimes be dangerous working with the public. It reminds me of my days as a newspaper reporter- also a dangerous profession where you find yourself dealing with strangers on a daily basis. We can all learn from Carter and how she covered her bases. She told her husband where and when she was showing the property.

Capture the moment or live in it? As a full-time marketing professional this is a heavy topic for me. I indeed see the value of social marketing from a business stand point, but I do see the dilemma the our personal lives are getting too caught up in capturing the moment, sharing it on Facebook rather than being in the moment and seeing it for what it is. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort with my family to be there smiling at then rather than behind my iPhone. This a must-read for anyone with a smart phone.

Cheers to the weekend!!

Book Review: The Rent Collector

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

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I read this book as part of my monthly book club. Here are the stats:

  • Cost- $15.99
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 271
  • Star Rating- 3.5 stars out of 5
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes

Synopsis: This book takes place in Cambodia current day and follows the story of a young family who lives in a dump with an infant son who is sick. They collect trash for income to pay the rent for the shack they live in. It is a story of hope, persistence and is a charming one.

Things I like: It was a real eye-opener to a situation I was unaware of. There were several relationships that had interesting dynamics which I enjoyed reading about. And overall, it was a an easy, fast read. I would recommend this to a friend, just to bring this issue to another person, like myself, who maybe unaware.

Things I didn’t like: This is a fiction novel but is based on a documentary the author’s son produced. This rubbed me the wrong way, because it blurred the lines between what was real and what was fiction. I also think the author lacked a true knowledge of the area and health issues. While it was well written, it did lack a sense of depth to their story and situation.

Remember if you are interested in purchasing this book, support your local book store and #shoplocal!