Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #33--Happy Birthday Lily!

Happy Weekend! What a friggin' week. Super glad it is FRIDAY today and that means things are changing around here. Our patterns are different on the weekends and this week I am for sure in need of something different. A fresh start. A big ol' push to the RESET button. That's what this weekend is all about!

Another thing I wish I could push the reset button for--actually, not reset, just PAUSE--is this pretty little angel. My niece and God-daughter Lily Claire was born last year on February 2nd, so Monday is her FIRST BIRTHDAY!

I was lucky enough to be able to fly to the West Coast for two weeks to help out right after my sister had her. Mainly I helped with Lily's big sister, Emma Grace, who was 2.5 at the time and is enough to keep four adults occupied at all times. But I got one good long night with Lily, too, when she needed to be held (and her parents very definitely needed sleep). Here she is after a bath. Isn't that yawn just too precious?

I didn't get to see them at Christmas because the damn snow and ice made travel impossible. So bummed about that. I absolutely hate the whole video chat thing--Jason and I didn't even do it while he was in South Korea--but these two little girls just might make me turn. They are too far away and growing up far too quickly for their aunty's taste.

So Happy Birthday, Lily Claire! Aunty Cameron loves you even though she lives far away and hasn't sent your present yet. Luckily toddlers have no sense of time and distance. :)


This week I got some GREAT news about a friend who had a health scare (HOORAY!), some worrisome news, some sad news, some crazy news. Please, no one call me with any more news. No gnus is good gnus with Gary Gnu. I was "trapped" in the house for a couple days while it was snowing and I was a big 'fraidy cat about driving. I laughed for five minutes straight when Jason called me from work to tell me he was "fixin' to come home." I had my hair done... it's always just as lovely to catch up with my friend Cindy (who happens to be my colorist and stylist) as it is to have fresh new hair. Jason finished painting the dining room. I finished a ton of new Valentine's Day designs and I can't wait to photo and upload them to etsy next week. We played some Wii; I am a Sun Salutation Yoga Master (on my first try!). I also rocked the tightrope. I worked myself into a tither 1.5 times (or maybe 15 times) throughout the week and also assured myself a very busy weekend. DOH!

Happy Weekend, everyone. Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Whee, my Wii is on the Way!

It seems like Santa really treated people right this Christmas because he brought a lot of people Wiis. Everyone's been talking about how much they love their Wii Fit. When Lisa was here she told us how her mom and grandma are hard to reach on the phone because they are always too busy doing the Wii Fit. So when Jason bought his latest motorcycle I did the usual, "So what do *I* get out of this?" deal and thought that a Wii and Wii Fit sounded fun.

Jason, being ever-considerate and wanting to appease me, ordered a Wii from Best Buy. And he told me and I was like, "Uhhhhh... I kinda thought I should try one out before we actually decided to buy one." Oh well, too late now! The Wii Fit was out of stock, though. It's out of stock everywhere. Well, that's not true; it's in stock at a lot of stores that charge $30+ more than retail, plus shipping! No thank you, losers.

So when I went over to Teri's on Sunday and found out she had a Wii and Wii Fit, I asked if we could check it out. Oh my stinkin' heck!!!! How FUN! I'm super excited about it now. Granted, I will be pulling down the blinds before I hop on the board and start doing yoga (ha ha!), but I can't wait to try everything out and make my Mii and play all the games and try all the workouts. So I googled it again this morning and the very first link that popped up was Amazon, and it said, "Wii Fit in stock now! Free shipping! Order before they sell out again!"

Obviously I hopped right over there and ordered it. Triumphant, I e-mailed Jason that our Wii Fit was on the way! Hooray!

Ten minutes later he called me. Laughing. "Hi Love. I ordered a Wii Fit from Amazon last night after you went to bed when I saw they were back in stock." Ha ha! Luckily Amazon is awesome and I was able to cancel my order without any problems.

I am totally NOT a video game type person. At all. But I am super excited about the Wii Fit!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #32--I Che' C'e C'e

Wahoo, it's Friday! Whew, what a week! WHAT A WEEK. Amazing. Crazy. Stressful. Happy. Hopeful. WOW.

This week I got a lovely e-mail from Southwest Airlines. Usually I delete their messages right away because they always say "$49-$89 Nationwide!" and then I look at where I could actually fly from here and either I can't find any fares that low, or they offer me flights to like Newark or something. No thanks, I'd rather drive somewhere (although not to Newark). Actually, I'd rather stay in my house (in my uber-fabulous new flannel sock monkey pajamas that Lori sent me out of the blue!) than fly to Newark. If you are from Newark, I'm sorry, but these are really great pajamas. Actually, if you're from Newark, I'm just sorry. :P HA! Just kidding. Kind of. ;)

Anyway, I got a message from Southwest. And this time it said, "50% off fares to/from Seattle" and I said, "Hot damn!" Okay, I didn't actually say that. Because I didn't really believe that a message from Southwest would be true. But then I scooted over to and it was actually true. So quick like a bunny I e-mailed Kel and said, "When can I come visit and tell me quickly because this is only a three day sale!" So even though she is craaaazy busy for her job and she's sick, she got back to me and we figured out dates and I booked the tickets!

The super cool part is that I've been wanting to take some metallurgy classes and she was already signed up for two silver soldering classes, so I called the store and signed up, too! So not only do I get to see her but we get to take classes and be crafty together. I'm super stoked! Kellie is a college friend and sorority sister and I wrote all about how much I love her here. I don't see how this is possible, but it appears that we haven't seen each other in person for almost FOUR YEARS. HOLY CRAP!! So it will be absolutely awesome to see her (and her husband Alex, too) in March!

Here's the last time we were together, back in March of 2005. We were in Florence and had just eaten at that great restaurant behind us. Yummmm. Kel really did her research before coming to Italy and found us some great restaurants (we were still pretty new to Italy and hadn't been to Florence before this trip). The name--I' Che' C'è C'è--is dialect for "What there is, there is." Take is as "What you see is what you get," or "Whatever will be, will be." (Pronounce it Ee kay chay chay.)

I don't think that it's really such a great photo; Jason and I had severe red-eye so even though I did the ol' red eye removal trick, we end up looking slightly zombie-ish. And although I had that hair for many, many years, now that I have short red hair whenever I look at a "before" photo I feel like I'm looking at someone else besides me. I feel more like myself as a redhead, I guess. But this photo still cracks me up, and I love it because it's a great representation of that entire trip. We acted goofy and had a fabulous time every single day. It was awesome.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Great Start Party for the Avon Walk. I'm meeting up with my team members whom I haven't seen since last year's Avon Walk! It should be fun. :) Then on Sunday I have a little show with my friend Teri; we're selling off our old Close To My Heart merchandise and I'll have a bunch of my new jewelry designs there, too.

Have a great weekend! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fun Weekend Time-Wasters

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to all of us here in America! Of course the very best thing about today, a hundred thousand times better than a three day weekend, is that TODAY is the very last day that Bushy will have "President" in front of his name without "Former" in front of that. Hooray! I really don't mean to get all political on here but I just can't tell you how happy I am about that.

So, you have seen this, yes? My friends Andrea and Scott Obamicon'd their dalmation, Dodger, and it is just the cutest thing. Here is me, not nearly as cute as Dodger, but fun nonetheless.

After I did this one I came downstairs to the big computer with the fancy photo editing software and digitally cut out the background of my photo so you can see the blue and red halves behind me.

It's really fun because you can zoom in and out and move your photo around and play with the amounts of each color shown. You can see the difference in these two even though they came from the same photo (except for the cut-out background in the second shot). Head on over to Obamicon Me to make one yourself (and to see all the cute ones other people have done--I think my favorite is of Kermit and underneath it says, "Frogress")!

If you still have more time to waste, then head on over to this great blog. It's all about the love, man.

I've not submitted my own "I love you more than..." because I keep reading through everyone else's and finding so many that are so good. Some are hilarious, some are heartbreaking, some are just plain weird. I chose this set to put here in the blog 'cause I could have written Sharpie markers or inside jokes; both are major loves. Some other favorites from the blog, because they made me laugh or told me a story in one tiny little heart-shaped package (notes from me are in [brackets]):

I love you more than...
  • ... sunshine; you're my silver lining.
  • ... Edward Cullen... I swear!
  • ... going to "real" college.
  • ... my heater in 17 degree weather.
  • ... your boyfriend does.
  • ... I did when I saw the look on your face when our son was born.
  • ... Joey loves meatballs. [Gotta love a Friends reference!]
  • ... the smell of a fresh pack of Crayola crayons.
  • ... scratching that itch.
  • ... my other wives. [Hopefully ex-wives!]
  • ... she can ever possibly love you.
  • ... eating chicken flavored ramen noodles when I'm sick.
  • ... you love me.
  • ... Venice.
  • ... I'm allowed to show.
  • ... a triple word score.
  • ... spending two hours in Target.
  • ... rosy cheeks on a cold winter day.
  • ... me.
  • ... Tums when I'm pregnant.
  • ... you love beer.
  • ... Pomeranians with evil tendencies.
  • ... Stewie hates Lois.
  • ... screaming out the correct answers in Jeopardy.
  • ... I want to move to France.
  • ... Post-it notes.
  • ... Australian accents.
  • ... weird baby names.
  • ... Frodo loves the Ring.
  • ... sleeping in while you get ready for work.
  • ... finding $5 in my pocket... but not more than finding a $20.
  • ... Amy Winehouse loves Jack Daniels.
  • ... you hate mushrooms.
  • ... hearing my niece giggle.
  • ... any man ever has, and you will never know. [ :( ]
  • ... any tv show I watch (and I watch a lot of them).
  • ... getting my own way.
  • ... dark chocolate... with roasted pecans... okay, maybe not with the pecans.
  • ... is probably healthy.
  • ... the miles that separate us. [Been there, done that!]
  • ... your life insurance policy. [Oh my!]
  • ... final-second-sniping on eBay.
  • ... I love bacon, and I really love bacon. [Me, too!!]
  • ... Madonna loved the eighties.
  • ... waking up at 7 a.m. on a Monday and realizing it's Sunday.
  • ... finding love notes in my lunch bag at work.
  • ... I want to.
  • ... an empty kitchen sink.
  • ... getting lost in a bookstore.
  • ... having an intern.
  • ... I thought I could have.
  • ... making lists.
  • ... solving those crazy thinking puzzles.
  • ... that adorable look you give me when I hiccup.
  • ... monkey poo. [What?]
  • ... your sister. [Hmmmm.....]
  • ... that satisfying bzzzzzzzsshhh sound from a Slinky.
  • ... shows about serial killers. [Ha ha, I could've written this one.]
  • ... all the things I could have done if I hadn't married you.
  • ... checking items off my To Do list.
  • ... enjoying an ice cold beer after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.
  • ... the amazing days and nights we had in Ireland.
  • ... popping bubble wrap.
  • ... really good second-day hair.
  • ... barely catching the last bus of the night.
  • ... cheese. And that is a lot. [Could've written this one, too!]
  • ... he ever could have.
  • ... I did 20 years ago.
  • ... paper cuts, but they hurt the same.
  • ... our moms love American Idol.
  • ... 500 thread count sheets.
  • ... boobies.
  • ... your husband.
  • ... daydreaming about our babies.
  • ... Aaron Rogers sucks, which is monumental.
  • ... Irish ghosts love stealing potatoes.
  • ... finally being able to sneeze.
  • ... my husband.
  • ... high daily view stats on flickr.
  • ... my laminated list.
  • ... your girlfriend loves you.
  • ... having the warm spot in bed.
  • ... a membership to the Cheese of the Month club.
  • ... Japan in April.
  • ... the sound of the gavel dropping in Law & Order.
  • ... my complete Shakespeare anthology.
  • ... waking up at night and getting to fall asleep again.
  • ... saying "That's what she said."
  • ... Twitter (Yeah, I said it).
  • ... I thought I loved the drummer.
  • ... getting revenge on elementary school kids.
  • ... limited edition Pop Tarts.
  • ... your putrid physical training stink.
  • ... fitting into my pre-baby jeans.
  • ... typefaces, point size, line length, leading and kerning.
  • ... flying first class on an international flight.
  • ... I could love myself.
  • ... all the states that are between us.
  • ... I did when you were mine.
  • ... double overtime.
  • ... finding a bathroom when I really have to pee. [Oh, man, that's BIG! Good one!]
  • ... that guy you call your boyfriend.
  • ... that song from Mamma Mia I keep playing over and over again.
  • ... you love me, especially now that I know you're gay.
  • ... my car seat warmer on cold mornings.
  • ... underfloor heating.
  • ... all those prostitutes. [Doesn't this make you wonder if a guy loves a girl more than he loved all the prostitues, or if a girl loves a guy enough to forgive him all those prostitutes?]
  • ... a short skirt on a windy day.
  • ... my broke-ass boyfriend.
  • ... having the bed all to myself.
  • ... a 250 note streak on Guitar Hero.
  • ... warm, ripe peaches.
  • ... Les (whoever he is).
  • ... you might think, all things considered.
I did not intend to list that many things but I got started and just couldn't stop. :) Plus, I thought of a few of my own while compiling this list. So Jason, I love you more than sliding across our newly-polished hardwood floor in wool socks; more than "birthday sandwiches"; more than all of my childhood books; more than your huge faith in and support of my dreams; more than Lindt dark chocolate with chili pepper (the kind in the red foil that they don't sell in America); more than Nunzia's lasagna; more than I love that I'm a great speller; more than all of our travels; more than fuzzy new socks; more than I hated our horrible year apart; more than thinking I can figure something out and then actually figuring it out; more than the feeling of saying something in Italian and having the other person not only understand but compliment me on my pronunciation; more than finishing a Samurai Sudoku in the Washington Post; more than etsy sales to people I don't know; more than waking up two hours earlier than you on a day off so I can blog about silly things without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else (because most of those other things would wake you up); more than "Mary mashed 'em"; more than a DVR full of my favorite shows when I'm sick; more than I love knowing about aperture; more than singing a random song lyric and you singing the next line (or vice versa); more than I loved the phone call from the Dean of the University giving me $10K more a year, enabling me to go to the school I wanted; more than Inspired; more than moving beyond past injuries; and more than you telling me the other night, "I am so in love with you."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #31--Slovenian Cave

Whoooooooooooosh. There goes Time, flying by again. I can't believe it's already Friday. I can't believe it's already Friday night.

2007 was a great year for Jason and I, especially concerning travel. Man, we went everywhere. It was our last year in Italy and we traveled about as much as was possible while still holding down a full time job. :) We've been missing travel A LOT lately. Here we were in Postojnka Jama, a cave in Slovenia. It was amazing. Check out more info here and here. If anyone is interested (and comments to let me know), I'll write more about it.

But for now I will wish you all a lovely and glorious weekend! Stay warm, people! And don't rub it in by telling us how warm it is where you live, all you warm-place people.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bits and Blurbs

I'm a little bit sick. It is really no big deal. It's more annoying than anything, because I have not a lot of energy. It's forced me to put a lot of my Big Goals for 2009 on hold. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know... big frickin' deal. :) I'm catching up on bad television and writing silly (and not-so-silly) things in this draft post that's been brewing for a week.


Last week John said something that totally surprised me but has been making me smile inside ever since. Jason and I joke around a lot and sing or make up songs... someone will say something that triggers a song memory and one or both of us will start singing. Like if I'm making dinner and put something in the microwave, Jason will say, "Warm it up, Chris!" and I'll reply, "I'm about to!" [Major points if you get that reference, haha!] After a shower we aren't just clean, we're "So fresh and so clean-clean." And on and on and on. :) We were joking around like this and John started laughing and said, "You guys are going to have the happiest kids, they're just going to be grinning all the time because you two are always making jokes and will keep them laughing." WOW! Wow. Super cool to have someone even think that.


My best friend from high school, Lisa, is coming up to visit me for a couple days at the end of a conference. She'll be here Sunday, hooray! So when she called this week I just assumed it was about her visit, but instead she told me that one of our high school classmates died the day before. Of a heart attack. We are 32 and 33. Matt Saucedo and I weren't the best of friends in high school; I was a stress-case brainiac focused on getting college scholarships, and Matt was a fun-loving, free-spirited Leader of the Pack. And I don't think I've seen him in the almost 15 (!!!) years since, just as I haven't seen most of the people from high school since I moved away right afterwards. But with 54 people in our graduating class, obviously we knew each other pretty well back then, and we got along. And everything I've heard about him since his death makes me really sad that I didn't know him as an adult. He had a wife and two little boys and served as a local sports team coach; my thoughts and prayers will continue to be with his family and friends. :(


Something happened to our garbage man right in front of our house yesterday morning. I don't know what went wrong, but he got a C-collar and was strapped to a backboard before being loaded into the ambulance! Hopefully he's okay. The other garbage man went back to picking up the trash on our street before the ambulance even pulled away, which either means that the injured guy is probably okay, or the other garbage man is a heartless jerk. I can't really call all the local hospitals and ask them the status of the garbage man, can I? So I guess I'll just peer out the window next week to see if he's back to work (fingers crossed, the poor guy!).


I got a super-cool commission from my fellow Inspired lady, Joy. She is a lucky lucky duck and she's going on the Ultimate Scrapbooking Cruise! It looks like an amazing time. She coordinated a swap with some charm bracelets and wanted customized charms to add to them, so I whipped some out and express mailed them so she could have them today before she leaves tomorrow. I hope everyone likes them.


I'm really angry about all the ads on television and the radio that are bombarding women with the "You're not good enough as you are" message. It's usually bad enough, but at this New Year's Resolution time of year it's just ridiculous. I don't know if the ads are just preposterously transparent or if my tenth grade Economics class marketing lessons about propaganda techniques was incredibly instructive, but hearing them just makes me really angry. I especially loathe the ads where "husbands" talk about how much better their "wives" are since they joined that gym / joined that weight-loss program / got that cosmetic surgery / bought that product / whatever. It's enough to make me scream for about a dozen different reasons... but I suppose that is another blog post altogether. UGH. I guess the positive side is that I recognize these despicable techniques and don't fall prey to them. So parents, teach your kids about propaganda techniques! :P


Which reminds me of a funny conversation. An ad came on for some TV show that I don't watch, and our convo went like this:
Jason: "Is she supposed to be hot? Because I don't think she's hot. At all."
Me: "I think she's supposed to be sort of smart-girl hot. I'm not sure, I don't watch that show."
Jason: "She's not hot."
Me: "Okay."
...long pause...
Jason: "I was hoping to get points for saying a girl on television isn't hot."
Me: "Well, it kind of just made me think that you're actually a really harsh judge and you're just lying to me about how hot you think I am."
Jason: ".... So my plan totally backfired?"
Me: "Basically. Yeah."
Both: Dissolve into laughter.

I love my marriage.


Seeing all the Avon Walk ads on television and hearing them on the radio ("For two days we walk as one.") is making me all misty and sentimental, remembering last year's event. I'm so glad I signed up again, although I know it will be hard again! All the training, and the fundraising (in this economy--ack)! But I know what worked and didn't work last year, and I have a plan to do a couple of special jewelry designs to help raise money. And I followed the training plan last year and was fine physically, except for all my damn stupid blisters, but I have a plan to prevent those, too. So my fingers are crossed and I'm trying not to worry and to just have faith! Later on this month is the Great Start Party and I'll see my teammates again for the first time since last year's event!


Jason really hates John & Kate Plus 8. I mean, he really hates it. I like it because not only are the kids super cute, but it makes me feel quite sane. If Kate is such a control-freak germophobe and she can handle eight kids and a television crew, then I'll probably be able to handle a couple of kids, especially since I won't have a boom mike hovering overhead. But Jason hates it; he thinks Kate is a horrible nag (those are not the words he would use) and all the commotion and noise of the kids makes him edgy or anxious or something. I would never turn it on if he was home but occasionally he'll come home right in the middle of an episode, which is what happened the other night. As usual he starting sighing and then said, "I just don't know why anyone would want to watch such an annoying show." To which I replied, "Well, I just don't find it annoying." And he looked at me in wonder and said, "Really? Wow, you really are going to be a great mom." Ha ha! By which I think he meant, "You don't want to pull your hair out and run screaming from the room when you hear all those kids yelling?"


I'm ready to post this mish-mash of a blog post and I just realized that there is one reference to sickness and two references to future parenthood. So let me just assure you all, I'm not pregnant. :) Ha ha!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #30--Santorini

It's Friday! Which does not mean much to me right now because I am sick and all my days are running together. But I know that it (today being Friday, I mean) means a whole lot to a whole lot of people (including Jason). :) So, here is a lovely photo from when I was most definitely not sick.

Jason and I knew that leaving Italy would suck ass be really, really hard for us. So to take advantage of our last days in Europe and to give ourselves something to look forward to (rather than crying about leaving, which we did anyway!), we booked an Eastern Mediterranean cruise in between leaving Italy and arriving in the States. It made packing a huge pain in the rear (since whatever we left Italy with had to not only meet flight regulations but get us through the cruise AND would be the only things we arrived in the States with!). But it was one of the best decisions we've ever made!

It was an amazing cruise and someday I'll have to write all about it. For now, here we are on the island of Santorini, Greece. Our ship was somewhere out in that water and we took little boats (my memory is failing me, there's a name for these little boats) to the shore. From there we had the option of riding a tram up the side of the mountain, or walking up the mountain, or riding stinky donkeys up the mountain. I'd done my research and learned that the tram filled up and backed up quickly so we made sure to be some of the first people to shore and we made it onto the tram, hooray!

We wandered around and took some photos--it is really amazing how everything is blue and white, it's just gorgeous!--and popped into a little museum. Then I bought a necklace and some postcards in the two minutes of shopping I can usually fit in before Jason starts getting antsy and cranky. :) We decided to head to a winery, so we figured out the busses--miracle of miracles in Greece, I'm telling you--and actually made it there! The ironic thing was that we ran into some other Americans and they were also from the Pacific Northwest, so we all laughed, "Oh, leave it to the Pacific Northwesterners to head to the winery!"

It was amazing. The wine... well, it was fine. But truly, how can anything not taste great with this view? We got a sampler tray of all different wines and some cheeses, crackers, olives, etc. So we sat and took photos and chatted with our friends-for-the-day and just soaked it all up.

When it was time to head back there was a hugely enormously ridiculously long line waiting for the tram, which made me really glad we'd headed out early that morning. But it meant that to get back down the mountain we could wait in line (which was not really an option at all if you know Jason, Mr. Impatient, and me, Mrs. Efficiency), ride the now even stinkier donkeys, or walk down the mountain of switchbacks. So we walked. As we walked down we were almost runover by a runaway donkey and came across a woman who had fallen off her donkey and was bleeding from a head wound. Seriously. Beware of Santorini donkeys. On the little boat with a name I've forgotten we rode back to the ship with some people who had ridden down on donkeys, and let me just say that I'm sure the very first thing they did back on the ship was shower.

There are a few morals in this story: Do your research before you travel (I highly recommend Rick Steves!). Take a photography class now. Get a good camera as soon as you can. Don't expect things to be easy just because you're on vacation. Appreciate the little things. Remember that even the pain-in-the-butt moments will be great memories (as long as you handle them well--so handle them well). Be friendly and open to meeting people everywhere you go. Wear comfortable shoes. Be flexible and willing to compromise. Stop and breathe in and enjoy the moment as often as you can. Take mental photographs of sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures, and feelings. Avoid donkeys.

And all those are pretty good ideas for life in general, too, now that I think about it. :)

Have a great weekend. Be well.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #29--The Have-Nots

Jason's cousins--who are all much more like brothers-and-sisters than cousins --have somehow divided (just the littlest bit) into the haves-and-have-nots... meaning children.

And here are the have-nots (yet):
Angella, Aaron, me, Jason, Aimee.

(I absolutely adore Brad, Ingrid, Steve, and Katka, too. I adore their adorable kids. I think they are all totally awesome!)

But for this one little moment it was just us. And in such a family, one little moment is treasured and awesome.

I can't even convey in a blog how much these people mean to me.

Happy weekend, folks. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

One Little {Powerful} Word

So. 2009, here you are! Welcome, welcome, I am so happy to meet you! We're going to do big things together, you and I, big things indeed.

One of my favorite stories about me when I was little involves my mom attempting to give some of my books to my younger sister (you know, the ones I had mostly outgrown, totally reasonable). And the story goes that I looked earnestly at my mother, with a look of horror and disbelief, and said, "But Mom! My books are my life!" Can you imagine? So it shouldn't have been any surprise when many years later I went to college and majored in--duh--English Literature.

My Dad has apparently begun a "de-cluttering" of my parents' house, and when Dad does something, boy oh boy does he do it. Dad is not a half-way sort of person. It's all or nothing, baby, all or nothing. So he started pulling boxes down from the top of the garage, and found boxes of all of those same old books; the books that were, so very long ago and so very, very dramatically, "my life."

God bless my Mom. I got a few of my very favorite childhood books from her a few years ago and I thought that was it (and I was--and still am!--very happy to have those); I had no idea she'd saved all of them. So when my Dad wanted to get rid of them one way or another and quick, Mom told him to just hold his horses until I came home. The boxes were waiting for me on the dining table at my parents' house this past week, and I am not at all ashamed to tell you that I just started to cry when I looked through all my old beloved books. I just couldn't believe they were all there, all these years later, and the memories came flooding back as I looked at each cover and flipped through the pages. Needless to say, Mom's shipping me all the books. I can't wait. :)

The point of this story is: I really, really, really like words.

I could go on and on about why I love words and tell stories about the effects words can have, but it all comes down to the power I believe that words have. The power a single word can have. So when I heard about Ali Edwards' "One Little Word" project in April of last year, I knew I was in. (For more details go here and then follow all the links.) But I'm ridiculously kind of anal, and I wanted to start with a new word for a new year, so I didn't choose one last year. And then I just kind of forgot all about it until my WASSIMA girls (a few of us who went to Inspired last year and formed our own little online artist "tribe") started talking about it again.

So for the past few days I've been weighing words. Testing them out. Trying them on for size, and seeing which ones felt the best on. I had the idea in my head, in words unformed, of what I want 2009 to be all about. And I knew my word had to be a verb; it had to imply action. But I couldn't quite find the right fit for one single little word to encapsulate it all.

And then I did.

Cultivate. One little word, oh so many possibilities.

Imagine, for a moment, someone cultivating something--a garden, an ability to play a musical instrument, a friendship. Do you get an image of someone rushing here and there and multi-tasking? I don't; I sense deliberate movement, with care being put into each step. Acting with intention. It does not imply (unattainable) perfection; it implies (completely obtainable) improvement.

In 2009:

I will continue to cultivate my relationship with Jason, taking time for us and communicating.

I will work on uploading more of my work to etsy and advertising it, cultivating my business.

I will spend more time creating because I know that some of the best ideas come when I just dive into it without knowing what I'm going to do; this will cultivate both my spirit and my artistry.

I will cultivate a healthy body by choosing to spend more time at the gym exercising moving and using my body in healthy ways. [I even signed up for the Avon Walk again!]

I will choose foods that will cultivate and nourish that body.

Sometimes I will indulge myself, if I feel it will cultivate a spirit of well-being; everything in moderation and with deliberation.

I will cultivate my relationships with the people I love by making the time to call and send real mail, even if it's just a short postcard saying I'm thinking of them.

I will say "no" if I am overwhelmed, to cultivate peace in our lives.

I will cultivate our house into the home we both want by focusing on one room / wall / corner / square foot / task / chore at a time, and not becoming overwhelmed by the whole house and a zillion options. One thing at a time. Just like cultivating a garden; one day plant the tomatoes, another the squash. One day do the watering, another day the weeding. Moving deliberately. Acting with intention.

To celebrate, I'm offering a special deal on a special necklace!

The "One Word" necklace is your word stamped on a 1" sterling silver washer. I really dig symbolism so I chose this shape to represent the open mind and open heart needed to truly embrace change. Let the good flow in and the bad flow out.

Your necklace can be finished in brushed matte (like this one shown) or hammered shiny (see here for a good comparison). Update: hammering gives me a headache. For this special price your necklace will be brushed matte. If you absolutely must have it hammered, e-mail me and we can work something out.

The best part? Because you read my blog and therefore I love you, I'm giving you the discounted price of just $30--including shipping. Shoot me an e-mail at createbeautydaily(at) (or convo me on etsy) and I'll set up a special listing just for you.
Please note: these will be listed on etsy for regular price--if you want this special blog-readers price you must let me know and I'll set up a special listing for you! [Also note: if you're shopping around on etsy please pay close attention to the details when buying silver. Nickle silver and silver-plate are not the same as sterling silver... there's a reason some things are a bargain! :)]

Whether you order a necklace or not, leave me a comment to let me know if you've chosen One Word for 2009 and what it is! :)

Welcome again, 2009. We're going to be great together, you and I, I can just feel it.