Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview from Freya's Studio

One of the other giveaways I won recently was a dog collar from Freya's Studio.  You all know how much I love Louie and so I was so excited to give him a fancy new collar.  Breanna even custom sized one for me since the pattern I loved didn't come in a small for my tiny pup...great customer service!

Meet Breanna and her pup Freya:

What Inspires You?I would have to say my dogs.  If I can show the patience, kindness, and honesty that my dogs show me everyday I think I'll be the person I think I should be. 
I also get inspired by going into fabric shops!  It is so much fun to look at all of the fabrics and see the potential collars that could be made.  It's even more fun to see the finished product in use and a smile on our customers faces (whether they're fury or human!)

What motivated you to start your own business?
Freya Dog and I are both very accident prone.  Unfortunately, both of us have had injuries that prevented us from playing at agility, freestyle, or other dog sports.  Luckily, I picked up sewing again and found a passion for creating collars.  Freya is very hard on things so she's the perfect test subject.  I wanted to make collars that were beautiful and fun but wouldn't fall apart.  I'm happy to report that I think we've succeeded!  I only make Freya a new collar when we feel like it rather than out of necessity.  This was a welcome change for my pocket book and it's great to know that others can enjoy the same benefit too! 

What advice would you give to someone starting their own creative business?
Find something you love to work on in your spare time and then look at the other folks out there offering it.  See if you can find a special niche that will help you stand out.  For us that niche is durability and the fabrics we use.  I try to use fabrics that I haven't seen used before (while also keeping in mind current styles and color coordination).  We're still very small fish in a very big pond so we're always learning more!
My other advice is to not try and do everything at once.  Focus on one thing and then branch out as you find what folks like/dislike.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would love to have the opportunity to go to Europe, I've never been out of the USA (not even Canada and I live in Montana)!  It would be fun to put my French Language classes to work!  I'd especially love to get to learn some traditional Irish Music, as a flutist this would be a dream come true.

Anything else you'd like to share?
One thing I always tell folks is to look into activities to do with their dog.  Whether it be dog freestyle (dancing with your dog), Agility (obstacle course performance), Rally (jazzed up obedience), or just getting out on more walks there is a ton to do!  Just because they're older or a hard to train breed doesn't mean you can't do more!  Look at Freya Dog, a lab/coonhound/heeler, she's as wild as they come but she's a joy to work with.  Every success we have is even better because of the journey to get there.  Even five minutes of positive training a day can change you and your dogs life.

I love Breanna's philosophy and passion for dogs.  So far the collar has held up really well and looks super snazzy on the Lou Man. 

Don't forget to also visit Breanna's blog

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview from Beautiful Blendings

I recently won a few giveaways which is amazing since I never win ANYTHING...I'm thinking of playing the lottery.

Anyway, the women who sponsored these giveaways were so sweet, and I was so pleased with their products that I just had to share them with all of you!  First up is Tara from Beautiful Blendings.  She sent me the cutest headbands and a pretty flower clip

What Inspires You?

 I am inspired mostly by all the beautifully talented people that are around me and I feel as though seeing what others can create only motivates me to work harder at what I do to make it better or more exciting. I have also been working with children my entire life and creating pretty items for them that are also functional for the adults in their lives is a huge goal for me!
What motivated you to start your own business?
I decided to start my own business only four months after joining the blog world because I knew I had found my sense of community. This was the place where I could express myself creatively and receive the feedback I needed in order to grow myself artistically. And honestly when I turned 25 this year I got the bug to stop waiting for the world to hand me out a better life. If I wanted change I had to make it happen for myself. I would say the same to anyone wanting to start a business.  Just start with what you know and find people (in your day to day life or virtual friends) that will give you support and feedback. It's fun and rewarding and a lot of work but TOTALLY worth it!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
This list grows everyday!!! My fella and I talk about it all the time because we really LOVE to travel but don't have the budget to support it all quite yet! I need to see New Zealand most definitely though. It's where I  already know I want to be married. ;)
Anything else you'd like to share?

I just want to tell everyone that the most important thing you can ever do in life is to be true to yourself. My days don't always run smoothly and sometimes (all times) I wish I were working on more items for my shop instead of grocery shopping; but it's a balancing act. I could never imagine my life now without my blog and business and the sense of happiness it gives me. And no one can take that from you. And I promise this: nothing beats the feeling if seeing something sold that you created and knowing someone out there WANTED that. Makes my heart happy every, single, time.

Tara is also offering a discount code in her shop: 10% off using the code sunshine10.  Happy Shopping!f
And don't forget to also check out Tara's Blog!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back in Action!

First of all, thank you to everyone who reached out and kept Sean and I in your thoughts over the past 2 weeks.  It's certainly been hectic and all your kind words really do mean so much so THANK YOU!

Now, I figured a quick update was in order before getting back to our regularly scheduled blogging program.  A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks:

Sean was hospitalized...TWICE! For an infection in his leg.  Apparently it was strep.  Who the heck gets Strep Leg?! 

Being back and forth to the hospital, combined with trying to take care of the pup and actually do work made it pretty crazy around here.  I may or may not have given up on cooking and cleaning entirely. 

We also got another farm share...yum!  Planning on making some Elote with that corn.
We also celebrated Sean's 28th birthday!  We got a Mint Chocolate Chip Cake from Termini Brothers.  This bakery is pretty much a Philadelphia institution, and it totally lived up to its reputation.  Delicious!

Louie graduated from the Advanced Obedience Class which means I can cross off yet another item from my 11 in '11 list!  Those are his pals Dolly and Daisy.  So cute!  Up next he'll be testing for the Canine Good Citizen Award

And we celebrated my Badass Friend Juliette's Birthday by toasting with some Philly Cheesesteaks on our Flavors of Philly Food Tour.  That's her bf Dave--he's a ninja.  Seriously. 

So although things have been busy they haven't been all bad, and we've actually had some fun.  Sean's leg is looking better by the day, and mostly he's just glad to be home.  I'm just glad to be back on the blog and catching up with some of you wonderful ladies.  I have some fun interviews coming up this week so stay tuned!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dead air

Sorry for the silence recently! We've had a doozy of a week over here. My great uncle passed away which stirred up a lot of emotions for me as the passing of any loved one will do.  More on that in a future post.

Sean was hospitalized in the middle of the night on Thursday for a bad infection in his leg. Although they released him on Saturday, I am blogging this from my phone on my way to the hospital since he was readmitted this morning. Don't worry I'm on the bus-not driving!

I will try and update soon since I do have some funny hospital stories for your entertainment...but in the mean time please send happy thoughts our way! How have you all been? I'd love to read some updates while hanging around the waiting room!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Farm Share: Week 3

After a GREAT winter season with our Greensgrow Farms Farm Share we decided to go with Landisdale Farm for the summer and fall.  It's closer, a little cheaper, and allows for pick-up every week for a small share.  So far we're pleased with the hauls we've been getting, although I'm looking forward to some more variety in the coming weeks.  The first 3 boxes were nearly identical, so here's the scoop:

  • Green Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss Chard
  • Garlic Scapes (those green curly things)
  • Onions
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Blueberries

Pretty yummy stuff--the berries are great in my yogurt in the morning and I've been using the garlic scapes in almost any sauteed meal we've made.  They have a very light, warm garlic flavor that is also slightly sweet.  Perfect for adding just a bit of garlic.  (Although I could probably eat a whole clove like an apple I love garlic so much...)

I'll be sure to let you know what we get tomorrow!

This weekend we have a trip to the Farmer's Market at Clark Park to pick up our Farm Share
Happy Hour at Biba--omg the shirred egg is something I dream about!  Looking forward to the sangria!
A friend's birthday party Saturday night at R2L--first time there so I will be sure to post a review
Sean's mom visiting Sunday night which means a great dinner out, hopefully somewhere new!

What do you all have planned?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Belated Recap

Although the holiday weekend seems like ages ago, We had such an amazing time I just have to share! 
This was my first 4th of July that wasn't spent home in Chicago, and although I missed it terribly, there was something so powerful about being in Philadelphia for this holiday.  This is where it all started! 

And we did go to the all-you-can-eat ice cream fest...which was so yummy!
We also spent some time in Chinatown, at a Philly Pops concert, and of course at the parade and fireworks!
We spent time with good friends and ate lots of good food, so it was clearly a fabulous weekend.

Festive pedicure & picnic while waiting for the Philly Pops in front of Independence Hall

A red white and blue breakfast made by the hubs

Celebrating in Chinatown with my friend Grace and her +1

Not quite sure how they got this giant truck through the city for the parade

A bit of history

A rootbeer float from Capo Giro

Fireworks as seen from University City

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Ramblings

JULY?! ALREADY?! This is just craziness, people.

July is going to be an exciting month!!
  • The 4th! duh! Who doesn't love fireworks?
  • Sean's birthday...although I've arranged for him to get the greatest gift ever (no spoilers yet), I have no clue what I am actually getting him.  Any ideas for a man's man turning 28?
  • My badass friend Juliette's birthday.  We are thinking of doing a Philly food tour to celebrate!
  • My 1 year anniversary at my job that I love.
  • Our Louieversary--we've had him for 2 years!
  • We'll also be seriously looking at our finances in preparation for a major purchase in the next 6 months
Sean is working on the Fourth, and so far I've had no luck inviting myself to other people's BBQ's.  Everyone is out of town--what is up with that, Philly?!

I think we're going to try to go to The Super Scooper Ice Cream Fest- 1 spoon, all the ice cream you can handle?  Yes, please!

 I'm linking up for Happy Hour!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Come on over...

Today I'm guest posting over at So Wonderful, So Marvelous about why bloggers make the best friends.   Michelle was one of my very first bloggy friends and I am just thrilled to be filling in for a bit while she's bonding with her as yet unnamed baby girl.  If you haven't found Michelle yet, she is a must read.  She literally makes me laugh out loud with every post. 

For those of you popping by from Michelle's blog: WELCOME!  I'm so happy to have you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Next to Normal

Last Thursday Sean and I went to see Next to Normal, a broadway show that won about 8gajillion Tony's a few years ago.

With Sean being a counselor and me working with college students--a show about mental health was a great fit.  We both had stories to share and people we knew who dealt with serious mental health issues.  The show was amazing...hilarious and heart wrenching.  Plus the rock music was totally on point. 

I have seen a ton of musicals in my life (my dad was a theater buff), but this is absolutely at the top of my list.

Here are some high points:

Do you go to the theater?  What other ways do you infuse "culture" into your life?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Recap: Terrain

This weekend I took some of my work friends to Terrain at Styer's.  It is a GLORIOUS place where outdoor meets indoor in one fabulous package.  I pretty much want to snag one of their colorful throw pillows and just set up camp there.  Not to mention, the cafe has some of the best food that has graced my foodie lips and the fact that it's all locally sourced makes my inner green goddess smile. 

If you live anywhere near PA, you need to make a roadtrip.  Seriously. 

Here are a few pics--none of the food since my companions and I snarfed it all down before I could even focus the camera.

Sean and I also headed to the Taste of Philly where we had some YUMTASTIC noms, and enjoyed a gorgeous day down by the river. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Ramblings

Last night Sean and I had a date night. 
I love date nights!
We ate at Barbuzzo and my favorite part was dessert...omg was it amazing!  Unlike anything I've ever eaten!
Salted Caramel Budino from Barbuzzo

Then we saw Next to Normal.  Now I'm a gal who loves my musicals but this was fresh, unique, and realistic. It made me laugh, and cry, and want to see it again. 

I just joined Pinterest...any tips or suggestions as I add another time suck to my day?

It's hot and humid in Philly which means pony tails EVERY. DAY.

I joined a program called "Colorful Choices" at work, with the aim to eat more colorful produce.  It's really made me realize how few servings of produce I get a day and helping me eat more mindfully.

I need to have phone dates with several important people.  I miss them.

I'm hoping this weekend will be filled with sleep, workouts, and maybe a little shopping.  What are you up to?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dreaming of the beach...

It's been a long time since Sean and I took a REAL vacation--one where housekeeping made the beds and my mojito glass was bottomless.  We are saving up to go on an amazing getaway once Sean finishes his Master's degree--which God willing will be this time next year.

Until then, here are some images to inspire and dream about.





Wednesday, June 22, 2011


So as I sit here in my Ayesha Face Mask from Lush (love!), hoping no one can see in my windows for fear of embarrassment, I am reflecting on my week at the University of Georgia.  I was chosen to participate in an institute for professionals in the field of University Housing.  We learned about what it takes to be a Chief Housing Officer.  The majority of the institute involved planning my future and mapping out my professional development to achieve my goals.  This has left me very reflective and introspective, and so I thought I would share what's been rattling around in my head lately. 

I started The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz upon returning and am currently almost halfway through.  (This is also helping me with my 11 in '11).  Here are some things to ponder from the book:

"We are so afraid that somebody else will notice that we are not what we pretend to be.  We judge others according to our image of perfection as well, and naturally they fall short of our expectations." (p. 18)

"Every human mind is fertile, but only for those kinds of seeds it is prepared for.  What is important is to see which kind of seeds our mind is fertile for, and to prepare it to receive the seeds of love." (p. 28)

"Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society." (p. 38)

These nuggets of wisdom made me reflect on myself and my actions.  Namely: how authentic am I, and how harshly do I judge others?  Truth: pretty harshly.  In reality all this does is cause stress and conflict.  I should focus on myself and doing good and let others worry about themselves.  This leads into the second two quotes.  If I let my mind be fertile for animosity or negativity I will absorb those traits.  By gossipping I am spreading those seeds to others and causing pain.  Does the fleeting joy of a juicy tidbit really warrant the possible negative consequences.  I'm going to go with no. 

So part of my professional development plan, is also to be personally better.  A better friend, a better colleague, and a better citizen overall. 

What have you reflected on recently?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday: Dog Days of Summer

So being in Georgia last week was amazing!  I had a fantastic time and learned so much.  However, I desperately missed my little furball!  So in honor of the Lou-man, this week's Tickle me Tuesday post is devoted to him!

The poop bag holder is essential.  It never leaves the end of his leash because there is NOTHING I hate more than dog owners who don't clean up. Seriously folks, get it together!

The necklace is more for me, but isn't it to die for??  My birthday is in a few months people...make it happen.
dog stuff

If I get neck bling, I guess Louie should too.  Snazzy!

And of course some stylish toys make them less obtrusive when they inevitably become part of the decor.
What are your favorite pooch accessories?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guest Post: Advice for Bloggers

Meet Leslie from Fresh out of Lemons.  I love her blog and know you will too!

I was honored when Melissa asked me to be a guest blogger on her site.  I immediately thought, ‘What could I share with her bloggers?’  I began to reflect on all that I’ve learned since I began my site, Fresh Out of Lemons, last August.  I set-up my little space on the world wide web as a creative outlet; a place to share my life, projects, tips, and adventures.  I quickly discovered that the process is much more than simply writing and posting pretty pictures.  Blogging is a lot of work!

Marketing is the behind-the-scenes part of having a blog that you don't think about when you post your first piece.  Writing is a reward, but knowing that people are actually reading makes the process way more fun!  Numbers become almost as important as the words; how many visitors, how many Facebook fans, how many Google Friend Connect members, etc.  Each statistic represents who you’re reaching and how your blog is growing.  I’ve found that the easiest way to increase exposure is also the simplest— be an active fan and follower of other sites.  Bloggers support bloggers.  There’s a reciprocal rule; if I visit your site and leave a comment, the common courtesy is to drop by mine and do the same.  Our worldwide community is such a close knit network, which was another surprise to me….

Fellow bloggers begin to feel like friends.  When I hear something about Texas, I think about Haley over at Cardigan Junkie.  When I come across a gorgeous and ruffled frock, I usually send the image to Laura, who has expressed her love of such things on You Stir Me.  I’m enjoying following Julie’s wedding planning on Love, Julie.  My blogroll represents a list of super talented and creative people who share the fun, relatable, delicious, inspiring, etc. parts of life.  I often feel privileged to be allowed the access.

And I'm fascinated by the idea that my stories can be captured in this unique way for whoever comes across my little url.  However, the flipside is that anyone can come across it.  If you haven’t had your first mean comment, just wait; they’re unfortunate rites of passage.  You will be stung.  If you’re like me, you’ll feel nauseous and begin to question whether “exposure” is such a good thing.  I just don’t accept the idea that I should develop a thick skin.  What I do believe is that people have a choice— read if you like or forget my address if you don't.  Zero tolerance for bullies.  Who’s with me?!

The other part of blogging that makes me want to throw the laptop across the room— technical issues.  Beautiful blogs impress the heck out of me because I know the work that goes into them.  Coding feels like (dark arts) magic.  Luckily I have a pretty great host company, Squarespace, that makes the work a lot easier.  They also have super responsive customer service representatives who talk me through heart-attack inducing moments, like accidentally deleting my entire blogroll. 

My final bit of advice that envelops all of the above— have a supportive partner in your life.  My husband, Joey, was my first fan.  He reads everything that I post, and he puts up with all the hours that I spend on my site and others.  He also accommodates a camera in his face when he’s part of a project that I want to share, or the dinner delays when I’m trying to capture visual steps of a recipe.  He listens to my stories about my web friends as if they’re people with whom we might go out to dinner.  He keeps me creative and, despite all the extra work, that’s the most important part of blogging!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guest Post: Wine Slushies!

Hello everyone! My name is Lauren and I blog over at The Elephant's Trunk and I also have an Etsy shop of the same name. 

Today I'm here to tell you about my love for wine slushies! Recently I was in Arizona at a Craft Fair and some guy at a booth asked me if I'd like a sample of a wine slushie. Was he serious? Of course! I loved it! It was so refreshing and delicious. I then purchased the mixture so that I could make my own win slushies at home.

Frappe Vino is the name of the company that makes this genius drink! You can purchase Frappe Vino yourself via Amazon. (I'm not receiving compensation from Frappe Vino I just happen to love their product. If they are interested in compensating me for singing their praises that's fine with me though).

It is so simple to make this delicious concoction. All you need to do is buy a bottle of red wine and buy a cheaper bottle (you're not having a fine lobster dinner you are pairing it with, you're making a slushie here people). I used a Barefoot Merlot and this can be found at most super markets or liquor stores for a fair price. You dump your whole bottle of wine in a gallon size freezer bag, then fill your wine bottle up with water, add the water to the freezer bag and then mix in the Frappe Vino mixture. After all of this has been done give your gallon size bag a good shake (with the zipper sealed tight of course) and place the bag in the freezer for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours is up, remove your bag and scoop out the frozen slushie. Place in a glass and enjoy!

This is an amazing way to get your red wine fix in on a hot summer day. It would also be great to have a big pitcher of these slushies available at a party. What are you waiting for? Make your own slushie! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun facts

Since I have several new followers, I thought it would be good to share some fun facts and deep dark secrets.  So first I'll share...then you share!

I have an Etsy addiction.  It's getting bad.  I am becoming a handmade snob.


I LOVE cucumbers in my water.  It makes it look and taste super fancy. 

I refuse to follow a blog only to enter a giveaway.  I will only click that button if I actually intend on reading the blog.  So if I'm one of your followers that means I really really love you!

Although, I have never won a giveaway so maybe I should reevaluate my technique. 

Pecans are my favorite nut.  Everyone should have a favorite nut.

I worked at an ice cream shop all through high school.  So not only do I have a mean right forearm, but I also know that you should always put mint on the bottom of the cone so you can taste all the other flavors first.  The mint makes your taste buds wonky. 

I have about a bajillion blank cards for all types of occasions.  1.) Because I always forget to buy cards and this way I always have them on hand and 2.) because I feel that handwritten sentiments are way better than whatever Hallmark has to say about it!

So tell me what your fun facts are!

Wednesday and Thursday are some super sweet guest posters.  Make sure to show them some love!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Georgia on my mind

I am leaving early tomorrow morning for The University of Georgia where I'll be participating in a professional institute.  I'm thrilled for the opportunity, and looking forward to meeting new friends and colleagues. 

The University is in Athens, GA and aside from driving through on Florida roadtrips, I've never actually visited the state so famous for its peaches and bulldogs

I've been told to expect lots of heat and humidity, with a heap of southern hospitality.

I've scheduled some posts, and have some great guest posts lined up so you won't need to cry at night from missing me.

Any of you been to Georgia?  I'd love to hear your travel tips. 

Have a lovely week!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Ramblings: It's gettin' hot in hurr

Ok, folks.  It is friggen hot in Philadelphia. 

You'll remember that as a Resident Director, I live on a college a Residence Hall.  This usually means that my apartment is kept in tip top shape as far as maintenance since we have folks on call 24/7 to fix every leaky pipe, squeaky door, and clogged drain. 

However--my AC has been out since yesterday which means my apartment is a balmy 84 degrees.  Too hot to be in, too hot for my dog to stay in. 

As a result, yesterday and today Louie is in my office with me, allowing me to do exactly NO work when I have an end of year report due and two buildings to close.

My boss (who is the most awesome man alive) put me up in a hotel last night while Louie stayed with one of my colleagues. 

But seriously...I need one of these today...anyone wanna send me?  please?

In other news, I will be out of town most of next week at a conference that I'm super psyched about.  I'll be in Athens, GA so it's only going to get hotter.  Great. 

But!  I have some awesome guest posters for you all so stay tuned!

Is it hot where you are?  Ice packs, ice cream, iced tea, and really anything iced are welcome.  Send them here stat!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Food from Sean's Motherland

Recently, Sean and I were invited by some friends to try out Philly's Brauhaus Schmitz.  Since Sean's grandfather is from Germany, he grew up eating all kinds of yummy German foods and so we were totally game.  (An extensive beer list was also pretty inticing).

The outside and inner decor is charming, even if a little cheesy.  You really can't mistake it for anything besides a German beer hall but clearly that's working for them. 

We ordered a soft pretzel with THE most amazing horseradish mustard I've ever had--it will clear out your sinuses but you will be happy.

I had the Weiner Schnitzel with spaetzle and Sean had the Rouladen.  Both were YUMTASTIC!  Totally authentic (according to the hubs) and definitely passed my test of deliciosity.  So while it's a tad on the pricey side, I still say go for the food, stay for the beer!

The beer list was longer than the food menu, which made the hubs pretty happy.  I had a yummy brown ale, and Sean drank the boot.  This was only the baby boot...they had a bigger one.  Coming from someone who really isn't a beer drinker, I'd say you can bet on having a great pint at this place.

Das Boot
 We'll definitely be back. 

I've found that I'm partial to brown ales...since I'm new at this whole beer drinking thing I'd love to hear suggestions for your faves!
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