Friday, November 30, 2018

heading out on black friday

i'm really not a black friday shopper.  not that i haven't been out on that day after thanksgiving to do sone christmas shopping before, it's just not really a *thing* for me.  i see all the news reports about the crowds and lines and fights, and that's just not how i want to spend my day.  not to mention, so many of the great deals are available online without having to deal with driving and parking and - well, you get it.

but when lilcee hit me up to join her for an early black friday jaunt out to the americana to do some lululemon shopping, i was intrigued.  and not even just for myself, since the old lady and her special friend AND the hub also like their stuff.  and i mean...maybe i might find a piece or two for myself.  maybe.

i'd had a few mimosas during thanksgiving, so i passed out pretty hard that night.  but not before i set my alarm to roll out of bed and get over to lilcee's house by 5:30.  we hopped into her car and made the quick trip to glendale, where we found that the lululemon store had relocated to another spot in the mall and only had a few people standing in line.  then again, it was really early still:


anthropologie was next to us, with a sizable crowd standing in front of it waiting for it to open.  when someone came along and told them that the store wasn't opening for a couple of hours most of them left, and somehow the people in line in front of us at lululemon got the idea that there were no deals to be had and they left too.  this left us almost at the very front of the line.


not too long after that, a store employee came along to greet us and tell us that they were going to be handing out wristbands at 6:30.  the store would open at 8, and the wristbands would have our time to return written on them.  they were spaced out in 15-minute intervals and 50 people would be allowed in at once.  by the time 6:30 rolled around there were quite a few people standing in line behind us, and we happily accepted our wristbands and headed off to find some caffeine.


we did some shopping the BOGO 50% off sale at urban outfitters, grabbed something to drink at coffee bean, peeked into the window at sur la table, and then made our way back to lululemon.  there was a pretty long line to get in, but since our wristbands were for the first available time we walked right in.  all of the black friday deals were on racks in the back of the store, and then a little past the fitting rooms we found another little room crammed with merchandise and people.



the mirror is really cool, doubling as a touchscreen inventory checker.


we scooped up stuff in the sizes we were searching for before huddling into a corner to go through it all and weed out the items that we didn't really love. since markdown items are final sale, lilcee decided to wait for a fitting room to try her pieces on and make sure she liked them and found herself sweating it out through a super stressful try-on session.  each customer was only allowed to bring in 5 items at a time with a maximum of 10 minutes in the room.  yikes.

while the deals weren't really THAT great, they were still better than paying full price.  and i managed to find a good number of items that'll make great gifts for my people (including me, duh).  i don't know if i'd do it again since most of the stuff was also available on the website, but there's a lot to be said for instant gratification.  but it was fun to spend the morning with lilcee, and after we said our goodbyes i even managed to get back home in time to take a barre class.

ah, christmas shopping.  ain't it fun?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

here we go...

so i mentioned that i'm going to be selling my handmade wares at a christmas boutique at the bean's school next week, right?  i thought about signing up for it back when this school year first started and there was some chatter about the boutique at the first room parents' meeting.  i was trying to get the bean to put together some of her cute little hand sewn creatures, but she's so busy with cheer and school and tutoring and everything else that she hadn't had time to sit down and crank any out.  but then she came up with a plan B:  selling her homemade slime.  i don't know how we didn't think of it sooner, considering that the kid is a freaking slime connoisseur.  heh.

i realized then that it was probably a good time to finally make myself a business name and slap together a quick logo so i could have some business cards and stickers to put on my stuff.  i asked the hub to throw some ideas together for me as to what i could call myself, and while the girls and i stood in line at disneyland one day the old lady pulled up a quickie logo generator website and showed me some fun ideas.  when we got home, i pulled it into photoshop and tweaked it a little, and voila:


while we were at it, we decided to use this for the bean:


she's super stoked.  unlike her sister, who bristled anytime anyone in the real world called her "the teen," she practically beams with pride at the knowledge that she has an internet alias.  we ordered her some custom stickers for her slime containers and she was over the moon when they arrived in the mail.

so now i have an instagram account that i can post all my stuff to, and i can keep it all separate from my personal account so that people don't roll their eyes when i talk about sewing or cookies or whatever.  i got myself a twitter handle too, along with a facebook page that i haven't promoted yet.  and now i'm debating whether or not i want to do an etsy store or just set up a website using shopify.  so many things to think about!  not to mention...i think this means that now all of the crafting supplies equipment i pick up are going to be write-off...able.  right?  i don't know.  i better talk to our accountant about that before i get excited.

in any case...yay!  i'm pretty excited about all this.  out of all the home-based business ideas i've had (and there have been a LOT, from MLMs in the 90s to wedding planning, a short-lived travel agency, custom invitations, stella & dot jewelry and now cookies and handmade sewn items), i think this one will be the most fun for me.  and to think...it really started back when i was making and selling those mermaid tail blankets a few christmas seasons ago.  and unlike those other ventures, i'm really just doing this for fun.  it's not a get-rich-quick scheme or even something i'm trying to make actual money from.  that makes it all so way better.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

happy, relaxing, blessed thanksgiving

to kick off thanksgiving day, i'd talked the old lady into coming with me to a 7:30 orangetheory class.  she wasn't super excited about it, but she sucked it up and we managed to get through it, brutal as it was.  i was extra super duper sweaty, thanks to the endless rowing we'd been required to do during the partner workout.  and i'd busted out my traditional thanksgiving tee for the occasion.  it got a chuckle from a couple of my fellow classmates.


after a quick stop at the grocery store for some last minute essentials, we headed off to marie calllender's to pick up the pies i'd preordered a couple of weeks ago.  unlike previous years, there was no line out the door but they were super organized about thanksgiving day pickups, which i appreciated.


as soon as i got home, i got started on cooking.  to be honest, i didn't really have a game plan other than a list of menu items i had in my head that we've had in thanksgivings past.  and i realized that i couldn't remember what i'd done with last year's turkey because we'd gone out to bouchon last year.  so i totally winged it.  i preheated the oven, got that turkey out of the packaging, pulled out all the gross stuff (posting the process on my instagram stories along the way because duh), and mulled over a few possibilities in my head before finally settling on what to do.  i pulled the skin away from the turkey, rubbed some butter in there, threw another couple of sticks into the cavity along with a couple of halved lemons, sprinkled the top with sea salt and pepper, and draped a pound of bacon over the top.


while we got the rest of the house ready and waited for the turkey to cook, i prepped the sides and put together some appetizers.  here's an oldie but goodie - baked brie topped with brown sugar and sliced almonds.  this was a huge hit with the hub, who'd decided to take a cheat day from his keto diet and eat all the carbs and sugar he could stomach for 24 hours.


of course, there was a charcuterie tray.  who doesn't love a good meat and cheese plate (besides vegetarians, heh).


and the turkey came out of the oven, golden and beautiful and smelling fantastic.


my parents arrived, bringing some delicious appetizers that we happily dug into.


as he carved the turkey (which turned out not to be completely done in the center, because my stupid meat thermometer is apparently a piece of crap and failed me miserably), the hub became both dogs' best friend.


once everything was done and everyone had made their plates, i finally got a chance to put some food on a plate and sit down with my family.  the old lady made me a watermelon mimosa, and it was delicious.


the bean was a little restless after she'd cleaned her plate and hopped up to clean the pool.  such a weirdo.


and then before the old lady and her special friend left to spend some of the holiday with her dad, we gathered to take some group pictures.




and some silly selfies, too.



i had about 3 of these and i was a happy camper.


the hub shooed me out of the kitchen while i was cleaning up and tucked me in on the couch with a fluffy blanket and a "friends" marathon on tv.  and it was the brad pitt episode to boot.


happy thanksgiving indeed.

Monday, November 26, 2018

all about that christmas hustle

whew...it's been a pretty hectic few days!  actually, it's been hectic for a couple of weeks, but i guess that really isn't anything new around here.

i happened to post this picture of an elf on the shelf-sized sweater:


and that shit TOOK. OFF.  i bought a few elf "blanks" to use for a display, so i tried one on to make sure it fit:


and then i was doing this for a couple of days.


i'm still working on orders, with a few to ship out and a bunch to meet up with local moms for deliveries.  but at just $5 a pop, i'm also working on lots of other things too.  here's a closeup of one of those pairs of ears the girls and i wore to the 'land last week:


and look how fun this is...a cute way to give someone a starbucks gift card:


my embroidery machine is working lots of overtime these days, because i'm signed up for a table at a christmas boutique at the bean's school that's coming up really fast - december 7th.  i'm trying to crank out lots of inventory in the hopes that people will come by and do some gift shopping, and the bean is going to make several kinds of slime to sell.  she's so excited, and i hope her half of the table is super successful.

so if you need me, i'll likely be hunched over the table in my sewing room for the next week and a half.  heh.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

keeping up photo traditions

with the bean off for thanksgiving week, we decided to brave disneyland on monday with the old lady.  we'd seen someone post about some fabulous-sounding beignets that were served only at cafe orleans, and i was able to score a reservation for lunchtime.  perfect.

we didn't leave early enough for rope drop because stevie had a grooming appointment and couldn't be dropped off earlier than 7:30, but we still managed to pull into the parking structure at 8:30...just half an hour after the parks opened.  the line to get in was pretty long, and even with all of the lanes open it took us a good 15 minutes to finally get through and park the car.

it was totally okay though, because we weren't in any rush to get anything in particular done and were anticipating pretty big crowds anyway.  and so we sashayed through security, found seats on the tram to the entrance and decided to stop for a photo op in front of the giant christmas tree inside california adventure.  the old lady hates the cheesy poses, but she put on her game face and threw out her thumbs-up with a smile.


we're modeling some fun christmas-themed ears that i've been working on...more on that later.


when we were done, we slid around to the other side to take a quick shot of the bean that recreates another picture we've taken of her before.  and then when i looked at my photo archives, it turned out that it wasn't actually an annual shot...looks like we were only remembering to do it every other year. heh.


we love to look in the shops to check out all of the holiday merchandise, and as we walked past one of the quick-service restaurants this caught our eye:


we are definitely going back at some point to order those.  yum.

the fastpasses we'd secured for our two favorite rides in this park opened up pretty quickly, and they ended up being the only rides we did that day.



it was really crowded on the disneyland side.  it usually is, because it's nostalgic for most folks and the kids love fantasyland and the princesses and the castle.  the bean pointed out that the holiday garlands were strewn across main street this time...we'd noticed that they weren't up the last time we were here.


we hadn't had a chance to catch the sneak peek of the new "wreck it ralph" movie, and so that's where we went first.  we've got tickets to see it later on today, so it was really fun to see an extended preview and get excited to see the whole movie.


and by the time we got out of there, it was time for our lunch reservation.  we headed on over to new orleans square, and after a bit of a wait we were finally seated.  the menu was pretty much the same as before, but there was also a seasonal menu to pore over.


we were surprised when the server arrived with a tray containing two entrees, since we hadn't gotten the appetizer we'd ordered yet.  when i asked him what he was about to put on the table, he said "it's the holiday special."  i looked at it and couldn't really make out what it was, so i asked him again what it was.

"it's the holiday special."
"but what exactly is it?"
"it's the holiday special."

this went on for another couple of rounds before i finally gave up and motioned for him to place the food on the table.  it turned out to be the braised beef and grits that the old lady had ordered...off of that holiday menu.  but it was really frustrating, and the table behind us had stopped what they were doing to listen to the annoying exchange.  to his credit, the server remained calm with a smile on his face...but honestly, disneyland - this is not the first time in the last few weeks that we've had servers not have any idea what they're serving and couldn't answer simple questions about the food.  ugh.

so anyway...it's not often that we turn down a good charcuterie board...and this was not one of those times.  even though it arrived at the same time as our entrees.  oh well.


the bean and i shared a monte cristo sandwich, which is a family favorite but is always such a big serving that i knew we'd be better off just splitting the plate.  not to mention that it's not the healthiest thing ever.  heh.


the "lumps of coal" that was the whole reason we'd come here for lunch didn't turn out to be what we'd read they were.  the article we saw said that they were chocolate beignets filled with a hazelnut cream and dusted with peppermint mocha sugar.  what we got instead were chocolate beignets stuffed with peppermint mocha and topped with peppermint ice cream.  still super delicious, just not what we were expecting.


the service had been excruciatingly slow, and by the time we finished our meal the park was so crowded you couldn't tell the difference between the people walking through and those who were in line for rides.  we were kind of over it by then, and didn't want to spend our whole day elbowing through crowds, and so we called it a day.

it figures that we'd come on a day when we didn't have to rush home for music lessons or cheer practice or anything like that and were free to stay as long as we wanted, and yet we were in the car and home before 3:00.  haha!
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