Tuesday, December 31, 2013

december 2013 in review

it's the most wonderful time of the year!

music by Harry Connick Jr.

Friday, December 13, 2013

whoooo's ready for 2014?!

I believe in having lots of calendars.  They're not only useful but can be extremely pleasing to look at as well.  For the past few years, one of my favorite calendars has been the My Owl Barn one that Shivani collaborates with 50 artists on.  And one of the coolest things about it is that she provides it for  FREE!  You can download a pre-made calendar for yourself or have fun picking out individual images for a more personalized calendar here.  These make great year-round gifts too.  Here are a few of my favorites from this upcoming year's calendar...
Ola Liola
Starla Halfmann
Kirby Rosanes

Renee Tremel

Sunday, December 1, 2013

november 2013 in review

This month I still made a collage of my daily photos using the Collect app, but I also tried out a new app called Flipagram.  It makes a video compilation of whatever photos you choose to add.  You can adjust the speed that it flips through (to include an automatic timer for Instagram) and you can even add any music you own in your library.

So here is my November Photo a Day Flipagram for your viewing pleasure.  And if you follow flipagram or check out the #flipagram on instagram you'll see some pretty creative people out there!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013 month of thanks

11.1 today I am thankful for the blessing that is a HEALTHY baby!
11.2 today I am thankful for good friends that have my little girl over for a super fun sleepover!
11.3 today I am thankful for the opportunity to wish my husband another happy birthday
11.4 today I'm thankful for my MIL's delicious pumpkin soup
11.5 today I'm thankful for music.
11.6 today I'm thankful for my sweet, imaginative, healthy and helpful daughter. she makes me smile and laugh everyday.
11.7 today I'm thankful for my sweet "little" man and his kissable cheeks!
11.8 today I'm thankful for the restorative power of morning yoga.
11.9 today I'm thankful for a husband who's supportive of my hobbies, who encourages me to take time for myself, who takes the kiddos out and about and who makes us delicious coke floats for dessert - I couldn't ask for a better partner!
11.10 today I'm thankful for family days. even when these little ones get a little hard to handle I remind myself that we are blessed and one day I will miss even the "hardships."
11.11  today I'm thankful for the chance to thank our veterans, particularly the two that were serving when they adopted me. love you mom and dad!
11.12 today I'm thankful for my health. I am physically, mentally and emotionally healthy and am SO grateful for that blessing!
11.13 today I'm thankful for a job that lets me telecommute. for those less than restful nights, nothing beats working in your pj's.
11.14 today I'm thankful for not only for clean drinking water but also that my new work building has this cool feature built into the water fountain.
11.15 today I'm thankful for Saraya's generous heart. when I told her we needed to pick some of her toys, books and clothes to give to less fortunate kids, she didn't hesitate and made a decent sized "to go" pile.
11.16 today I'm thankful for whatever just made my baby giggle in his sleep. (now if only he'd sleep through the night...)
11.17 today I'm thankful for our fireplace.
11.18 today I'm thankful for spaghetti pie.
11.19 today I'm thankful for creative outlets.
11.20 today I'm thankful for cozy warm flannel sheets.
11.21 today I'm thankful for crockpots and rainy days.
11.22 today I'm thankful for my electric pump.
11.23 today I'm thankful for being able to talk to my family no matter our distance.
11.24 today I'm thankful for productive drills that don't get cancelled at the last minute.
11.25 today i'm thankful for my homemade eggnog lattes.
11.26 today I'm thankful for the opportunity to play in the kitchen with my little.
11.27 today I'm thankful for this happy reader.
11.28 today I'm thankful for a blessed holiday with great family, friends and food.
11.29 today i'm thankful for leftovers, naps, my DVR, massages, and my neighbors waiting until after Thanksgiving to blast Christmas music in the neighborhood.
11.30 to end the month of thanks, a reminder to myself that gratitude is for every day of our lives (courtesy of Mr. Thoreau)... "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. My wealth is not possession but enjoyment."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

december 2013 photo a day challenge

The last month of 2013 is upon us this weekend.  Can you even believe it?  Was 2013 a great year for you or are you just ready to put it behind you?  I'd have to say that it was pretty fantastic for me.  That's not to say it hasn't been without its difficulties and I am looking forward to what 2014 has in store but overall, I can't complain!

One of the great things for me has been a year of awesome daily photos.  I really love the way these prompts have challenged my creative muscles and helped me capture some truly memorable parts of my life as well.

Chantelle (aka Fat Mum Slim) has really created an amazing outlet for people to share and I'm looking forward to another year of inspiration.  Hope to see some of you play along too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

letterpress workshop

My love for letterpress has been growing over the years and I was finally able to see the real deal in action a few weekends ago.  Quality Letterpress is a local shop here in San Diego run by Tim Butler.  Tim has nearly 30 years of experience with letterpress and I've been trying to get into one of his classes for nearly a year.  I have no need for creative business cards or wedding invitations but if I won the lottery, a real press to quench my hobbyist thirst would definitely be on the menu!  QL is one man deep so Tim is a pretty busy guy.  When he is able to squeeze in a workshop, there are only 2 spaces per 4 hour class and they fill up fast so I was beyond excited when he offered a last minute class that actually fit my own busy schedule.

The workshop starts with a tour of the shop and some history of the process, the machines and techniques.  There are 5 presses from tabletop size to ginormous and drawers upon drawers of type.  In fact, Tim recommended having an idea of something you'd like to print before arrival because you could easily spend the entire four hours just looking through drawers.

i'd love a table top this size (hear that santa?!)

this is an original news plate from the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor
treasure map
I decided to create some stationery using my initial and one of my favorite quotes from Jack Kerouac.  Since we did everything by hand instead of using a newer method of polymer plates, it took a little trial and error to set things just right but that was part of the fun for me. 

love this color
making sure not to chop my fingers off...
This was so much fun.  I highly recommend Quality Letterpress for my local friends and who knows, maybe I'll be able to step up my hobby someday.

(part of) my masterpiece

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ski bunny

I didn't learn to snowboard or ski until I went to college.  I mean, you can't live in Colorado and not at least try it out right?  Well, my first day of snowboarding started out great.  Breckenridge was beautiful and this snow bunny was having a blast until my board caught just wrong and I landed just funky enough to sprain three ligaments in my knee.  When I learned that my injury almost cost me my commission I decided to stick to just playing in the snow for the next few years. 

After I graduated and successfully commissioned, I decided I was ready to take a little risk again and decided to give skiing a chance.  It was great fun and I happily stayed injury-free this time. By this time I was no longer living in a place close to the snow so I wasn't exactly getting good at it though.  Now I live in California but this old body ain't what it used to be.  I know I'm not too old to pick it up but I'm really just content visiting and playing in the snow.
Justin on the other hand is a great snowboarder.  He grew up skiing and snowboarding and so I'd expect that to show up in at least one if not both kids.  Saraya was watching some videos and we asked her if she wanted to learn to ski or snowboard.  She decided she wanted to ski.  Now, if you follow my instagram you may have seen this:
November in California happening here...

So just where was a girl supposed to learn to ski?!  Luckily, there's a place called Adventure Ski and Snowboard School in the little beach town of Encinitas.

Yes, this school is outside.  They have a "magic carpet" that simulates skiing or snowboarding downhill and it is so cool.  Thanks to a handy dandy Groupon, we got a 30 minute private ski lesson for the babe.  Three year olds can be so unpredictable.  We knew she'd either love it or hate it but what we didn't expect was for her to be so good!  The instructors are great.  They talk through each step at an easy to follow level appropriate to the student.  She kept describing the ski positions as big and little pizza slices (which Saraya loved).
how's that background?


proud papa
 And by the end of the lesson she was able to go down the whole hill by herself.

There was a lady learning to snowboard next to her so of course she got a little distracted.  And of course when the lesson was over she said "Now let's snowboard!"  Have we created a monster?  I'll let you know how her first ski/snowboard experience in the actual snow goes...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

veteran's day deals 2013

Let me preface this post by saying that I like to observe holidays for the purpose they were created.  I observe Memorial and Veterans' Day with a respectfully heavy heart.  But as a veteran myself, I also appreciate the time off to spend with my family barbecuing or taking advantage of a freebie or discount.  For that reason, I'm sharing some deals for the upcoming holiday that were passed to me  with you all.  If you know of anymore, please feel free to share in the comments!
2013Veteran’s Day Free Meals and Discounts

Two notes before jumping in:
Proof of Military Service. First, most companies require some form of military ID – including a U.S. Uniform Services ID Card (active/reserve/retired), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), Photograph in uniform, be wearing uniform (if your service permits), Veterans Organization Card (e.g., American Legion and VFW), DD214, discharge paperwork, or other form of identification. Other restaurants and companies may only require a photo of you in uniform, or go by the honor system.

Participation.  Second, restaurant chains advise calling ahead to specific locations, because they warn that not all franchises honor the specials offered by their parent organizations.

Applebee’s – free meal, Nov. 11: Last year, Applebee’s served over one million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2013. There will be 7 entrées to choose from, beverage and gratuity not included. Military ID or proof of service required. Find locations at http://applebees.com.

Bar Louie, Free meal on Veterans Day (2013). Active duty military members and veterans can receive a free meal, up to $10 in value, and a free non-alcoholic beverage. Available at all locations, military ID or proof of service is required. See FaceBook page for more info.

BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, Nov. 11th (2013). Complimentary lunch entree or a one topping mini pizza for dinner. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. More info.

Champs Americana (2013). We’re celebrating our Veterans with an All American Meal! All Veterans and Active Military will receive a free burger on November 11th! Proof of service required. Offer not valid for the Pepperjack Bacon Stack Burger or Kobe Burger. Dine in only, valid at participating locations. Find a location near you.

Chili’s – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11 (2013). Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 6 meals. This offer is available from 11am – 5pm on November 11, 2013 at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.

Denny’s Veterans Day Appreciation Event, Nov. 11. 2013. Free Grand Slam breakfast to any veteran from. Participating markets include select diners in Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Indiana, Colorado and Washington, DC (from 6:00am – 2:00pm), as well as the following New York locations: Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo areas (from 6:00am – 10:00pm). Call ahead to verify, and check with your local Denny’s if you live in another area.

Fox & Hound and Bailey’s Sports Bar (2013).Veterans and Active Duty Military will receive a free item from the 7 under $7 menu. Active military ID, retiree card, or other proof of service required. Visit site for location information.

Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 11: The 13th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation Monday dinner will be held on Monday, November 11, 2013 from 4 pm to 9 pm in all Golden Corral Restaurants nationwide. The free “thank you” dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit http://www.goldencorral.com/military/.

Famous Dave’s – Nov. 11th (2013). Free or discounted meals on Veterans Day. Offer varies by location, please check the Famous Dave’s Veteran’s Day page or call your local restaurant for more information.

Hooters – Free Meal, Nov. 11 (2013). Hooter’s is serving up a free meal to military veterans all day on Veterans Day. Offer good for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Get 10 Free Wings – Boneless or Regular, drink purchase required. Offer valid at participating Hooters only; open to all active duty and military veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. For more information, visit, http://www.Hooters.com.

Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut (2013). Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans on November 11th. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

Little Caesars® Pizza (2013). Little Caesars is honoring the men and women of the United States armed forces this Veterans Day by providing veterans and active military members with a free Crazy Bread® with proof of military status or proof of service at participating stores nationwide. 

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner,  Nov 11, 2013: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 13th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 13th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended.

Outback Steakhouse – A week of Free Bloomin’ Onions and Cokes Nov. 11 (2013). Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a Coca-Cola product during the week leading up to Veteran’s Day. This offer is available to Military Personnel who have one of the following forms of identifications: U.S Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD form 214 Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW), Photograph in Uniform, Wearing Uniform. For more information, visit, http://outback.com/companyinfo/veteransday.aspx.

Sizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2013. Buy one get one free, 6 oz. Steak Entree with the purchase of a second one. Valid with proof of military service. More info.

Spaghetti Warehouse Once in a Lifetime Veteran’s Day Celebration (2013). In honor of US military veterans and the unique once in a lifetime date: 11-11-11, Spaghetti Warehouse is offering lasagne or any original recipe spaghetti entree for only $0.11, with the purchase of a lasagne or any original recipe spaghetti entree at regular price. This offer is open to everyone, not just veterans. Download the coupon at their website.

Subway – Free Six Inch Sub, November 11, 2013. Select SUBWAY® Restaurants will offer a FREE six inch sub or flatbread to military veterans on Veteran’s Day. This offer is valid only on November 11, 2013 at participating local SUBWAY® restaurants, Military ID or proof of service required. Note: SUBWAY® Restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere. Please call ahead for participation and times.

Texas Roadhouse – free lunch, Nov. 11 (11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) (2013). Every Texas Roadhouse location across the country will participate in the free lunch event to honor the men and women of our armed forces. Offer good for All veterans – including all active, retired or former U.S. military. ID Required. See the Texas Roadhouse Veterans Daypage for more information.

T.G.I. Friday’s – Buy one get one free Nov 11 (2013).Valid for all US Military personnel and veterans. Must wear uniform (if permitted by your service) or present military ID or other proof of service. Only valid at participating locations for anyone with an old or current military ID. More details on TGIFridays.com.

The Olive Garden, Free entrée (2013). Offer good for veterans and active duty military, November 11th during regular business hours. Chose from a special menu; all entrées inlcude freshly baked garlic sticks and choice of soup or salad. Off er good in US and Canada, proof of service required. More info.

Twin Peaks, Nov. 11 (2013). Free entrée for service men and women (up to $10). Good for veterans and active service personnel with valid ID or proof of service. Dine in only; gratuity not included. Find a location near you.

Uno Chicago Grill, Nov. 11 (2013). Veteran’s Day Discount: 19.43% discount on their food and non-alcoholic beverage beverages purchases from11/7 through 11/11. Why 19.43%, do you ask? That is the year UNO invented deep dish pizza. Offer good for all military for veterans and active duty military. ID or proof of service required: Show up in uniform (if your service permits), provide military ID, show a picture of yourself in uniform, or have other ID showing proof of service.

Home Depot Military Discount: The Home Depot(R) is offering all active duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10 percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veteran’s Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations. The 10% military discount is available everyday for active duty and retirees, but not all veterans. Home Depot makes this offer available to all veterans on most military holidays. You can also find Home Depot discounts online.

Lowe’s Military Discount: Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10 percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available Nov. 11. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via Lowes.com, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards. Like Home Depot, Lowes offers this discount daily to active duty military members, but not to veterans. However, they extend the offer to military veterans on military holidays. You can also find exclusive discounts at Lowe’s.com.

Anheuser-Busch Parks. Anheuser-Busch Parks offers Active Duty Service Members free admission for them and up to 3 dependents to any of their parks once a year. Throughout 2013, members of the military and as many as three direct dependents may enter SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with a single-day complimentary admission. The Here’s to the Heroes program is only available to Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman. Eligible parks include: Adventure Island, Busch Gardens (Tampa Bay or Williamsburg), SeaWorld (Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio), Sesame Place, and Water Country USA. Not valid at Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. is not included as part of this program. For more information and to register, visit: Free admission summary, and ticket application.

Colonial Williamsburg Free Admission. Colonial Williamsburg offers free weekend-long admission tickets to active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their immediate dependents from Nov. 11 . The complimentary ticket includes admission to Colonial Williamsburg exhibition sites, art museums, and most daytime programs, as well as free parking and use of the shuttle bus system. Tickets are only available at on-site ticket sales locations. Tickets are also available to families of deployed servicemembers. Tickets available on the following dates: Nov. 11-13.

Fee Free Day at National Parks. To honor America’s service men and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the National Park Service would not charge entrance fees for Veteran’s Day weekend – November 11, 2013. Over100 national Parks will be participating in this event.

Historic Jamestowne – Free Admission. The National Park Service commemorates Veterans Day with Fee Free days at Historic Jamestowne November 11-13. Free admission for everyone. See events calendar.

Knotts Berry Farm Military Tribute Days – Free Admission. Knott’s Berry Farm has an annual Military Tribute event in which they offer military members past and present by offering free park admission. This year the Military Tribute Days run from November 1 – 24 November (Thanksgiving Day). Veterans or current serving military personnel plus one guest get in FREE with proper ID presented at Knott’s turnstile (DD214, Veterans Administration Hospital ID or Active Military Service ID). Purchase up to six additional tickets for just $17 each. More info.

Pro Football Hall of Fame – Free Admission. Annual Veterans Day Salute, November 07, 2013, 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM. Any veteran or member of the armed forces and their spouse or a guest will be admitted free of charge to the Hall of Fame for a day-long recognition of US Military veterans. Members of the Blue and Gold Star Mothers will also be eligible for free admission. There will be a special ceremony beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Hall of Fame’s NFL Films Theater. More information.

San Jacinto Monument and Museum (La Porte, TX). November 7-13: Free admission to the theatre, Observation Floor, and the special exhibit to all veterans and their families. More info.

Amazon.com – Free MP3 album download“Veterans Day Honor” This free downloadable album includes 12 songs as performed by the military bands and ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces. Visit Amazon now through Veteran’s Day to download the album for free (album will be full price again starting Nov. 11).

Big Lots – 10% off your entire purchase with valid military ID. more info.

Cabela’s. Cabela’s is giving their standard employee discount to all US military veterans, active duty military, Guard/Reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel on Nov. 10-11. Discount varies from 5% to 20%, depending on the item.

Dollar General. 10% discount on entire purchase on Veteran’s Day. Offer good for all active-duty military, retirees, veterans, Guard/Reserve, & immediate family members. The coupon can be found in the store circular, or by asking an employe. Also good online from Nov 11-13, use Coupon Code VETERANSDAY. More info.

Free Business Cards and Checks. Get 25 FREE Checks – Choose from 6 different designs or upgrade to premium checks and choose from many more designs. Bonus Offer – Get 250 Free Business Cards! FREE Checks & Business Cards offer.

Free Car wash. Thousands of car washes around the country are offering vets a free car wash on Veterans Day. Find a list at Grace for Veterans, which helped veterans receive 101,537 FREE Washes on Veterans Day in 2010.

Jos. A. Bank Specials: Veterans Day Sale- 1 Day Only! All Suits On Sale- 2nd for $47 Mix ‘n Match. 40% Off All Dress Shirts, Sportshirts, Ties & Sportswear. Free Shipping on Orders $195+. Valid: November 11. JoS. A. Bank Veterans Day Sale Orders.

http://gan.doubleclick.net/gan_impression?lid=41000613802043248&pubid=21000000000196755K-Mart. Exclusive Early Veterans Day Sale – Nov. 10th! EXTRA 5-10% off Almost Everything with coupon codeVETERANSDAY. Friday & Saturday Specials + EXTRA 5-15% off & FREE Shipping orders of $49 with coupon code HOLIDAY.

Seven-Eleven – Free small Slurpee on  Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Offer good to all current and former military members. ID or proof of service required.

Sports Authority – 15% off all purchases. All Veterans and Military personnel please stop by your local Sports Authority store to receive 15% OFF YOUR ENTIER PUCHSASE on 11.11.11 ONLY! Please show proper identification or proof of service at check-out to receive this special offer.

Sport Clips – Veterans Day National cut-a-thon and HelpA Hero program. Sport Clips is the official haircutter of the VFW and will donate $1 from every haircut during the National Cut-a-Thon to VFW’s Operation Uplink, which provides free phone time to active-duty military personnel and hospitalized veterans. Sports Clips stores also offer a offer a Heroes discount which includes active and retired military. Find a location near you.

Steve Madden. We’d like to salute our heroes by doubling our everyday military discount of 15% to 30% OFF for Veteran’s Day ONLY. Valid with a form of Military identification (past or present) in Steve Madden stores only (not valid online). *Full priced merchandise only. Find a store near you.

Tim Hortons – all US locations are offering a free donut to all veterans (check out the Star Spangled donut!).

Sam’s Club® locations nationwide will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes free of charge on November 9th, 10th, 11th, 2013 to U.S. military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Limited quantities available, while supplies last. Sam’s Club® Membership is not required, but proof of military service may be required. For more information, visit HugoSalutes.com.

Build-a-Bear Workshop -- Members of the armed services, including the Coast Guard and ROTC, receive a 20 percent discount on any one transaction at the workshop.

Fashion Bug -- Offering 20 percent off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with a copy of military ID or spouse's military ID.


Monday, November 4, 2013

first haircut

So for awhile, S has been telling me she wants her hair short, "not long like mama."  Generally, if she mentions something unprompted on more than one occasion and for longer than a week or two, I know she means it.  We trimmed her bangs once about a year ago but were hesitant (for some unknown reason) to go for an actual cut.

The lady who cuts my hair always does a fabulous job and earns me lots of compliments.  She has a little boy of her own and I loved the mohawk he's been sporting for awhile so I thought it might be a good idea to take S to see her.  Man, was I right!

This child LOVED her haircutting experience!  She kept squealing at her reflection and was such a good listener for Ms. Jana.  I don't know why we took so long getting her hair cut.  She looks ridiculously adorable and it's so much more manageable now.