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Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm sorry to ask, but I need some help.

My husband and I have 6 children: 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a baby. As you can imagine, we spend a LOT of money trying to take good care of all of them. Our pets are our family, and even though things are more challenging now that we also have our baby, they still mean the world to us. Both cats are hyperthyroid, we had a growth removed from one of our cats last year, one of our dogs has had TWO knee replacements, etc. All our pets are rescues in one form or another.

The dog with the knee surgeries, Jake, also had a cancerous tumor pop up on his front paw last August. He got surgery, and the results came back with clean margins, meaning there were no cancerous cells in the skin around the tumor that they could find. But with the tumor being right off his paw pad, it was a very tricky area to operate on, and the margins there are not as wide as they typically want with tumor removal. A chest scan showed nothing had spread, so all these things led us to believe he was in the clear.

A couple of weeks ago, it came back, and not one tumor but two. After a lot of consulting with our regular vet and two different specialists, we decided we needed to have him scanned again (chest and abdominal) to make sure it still hadn't spread. He had a swollen lymph node and one nodule show up in a scan, though everything else looked normal. We waited on pins and needles to find out if the lymph node and nodule meant anything or not. We finally got the call that the cancer has NOT spread and is localized to the paw. This is GREAT news. However, this also means that he has to have the whole arm amputated. Due to the size of the tumors, the location, and the fact that it already came back once after local surgery, that is the best way to ensure it can never come back. It sounds strange to say, but we are actually relieved that amputation is all we have to do because that means we can get rid of it and it's not anywhere else in his body. At least, that is how I am having to look at it to keep myself from falling apart over the loss of his limb. In all likelihood, the loss will be harder on us than him. He will most likely adapt quickly and be able to do most of the things he has always done (which is fortunate, because you can see he's a lab mix, which means he's still very much like a puppy). And another silver lining is that both his knees are nice and strong.

He's getting the surgery on Monday. The reason I need help: we already spent $1,000 getting all the scans and needle aspirations to make sure it hadn't spread, and the amputation itself will cost $2,000. I hate asking for money and don't think I ever really have. But we have our daughter now, and expenses are mounting. We could really use some help. I thought I'd set up a Paypal button where people could donate if they feel compelled. 

If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you could buy one of our handmade necklaces from our etsy shop, and that will go toward Jake's surgery. 

I hope I am not out of line using our blog to make this request.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Come Pin With Us!

We are now on Pinterest! We're just getting started, but we have great taste ;), so come follow us. And let us know where to follow you too.

P.S. Pinterest is awesome for sharing and getting ideas - but if you ever want to save an entire web page of text and pictures (or anything at all), check out Evernote to help keep you organized. It's free on the web and as an app. I planned my wedding and tons of other things with it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jewelry Organizer Frame Tutorial

I love when I rediscover clothes, jewelry, etc. that I already own but haven't worn in a while. It's like going shopping in my own house. Sometimes I'll forget I have things if they're not front and center where I can easily see them. When you can easily see what you have, it's easier to plan more creative outfits because you can see how things can look good together.

I'd been wanting to make a jewelry organizer frame for a while and just hadn't gotten around to it. It's not an original idea of mine; I've seen it in various places online. I have scads of beautiful necklaces I love in addition to the ones in our shop and really wanted a place to prominently display all of them, where they'll not only be in easy reach but part of the decor because they make me happy when I see them. I had them all on a coat hanger, and what a pain it was taking one off. I was planning on having a booth at a local craft fair recently and worked hard all week making more of our necklaces and planning the display, and then for many reasons, I wasn't able to go. But I finally made a frame organizer to display them on, so now I can use it at home til the next craft fair comes!

You can find more of our handmade self-love necklaces at

You simply take a large, empty wooden frame (mine was one of many that I used for painted signs at my wedding), cut a piece of chicken wire to fit, and use a staple gun to attach the wire to the back. Then take some S hooks and place them around on the wire. You can bend the backs closed with pliers if you want or leave them loose for rearranging. Once you have all the materials, the project will probably take you all of 10 minutes, unless you want to paint your frame. I love how it looks, how my necklaces don't get tangled, and how easy it is to get what I need! You can also hang rings, bracelets, earrings, and brooches.

And voila - you have a great way to see your favorite things every day, even when you're not wearing them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Bird's the Word

I'm not sure about how I put this outfit together. But I decided to post it anyway. Learning to be more self-confident is a multi-faceted deal (that's why our blog covers different kinds of topics and not just one), and this is part of it!

I saw this bird dress at Forever 21/XXI and fell in love. I have a real thing for birds. I've never had one as a pet but am enthralled with the shape of them...their skinny necks, round bellies, and their wiry widdle wegs and feets. It's the trend now to wear a belt-over-a-cardigan-over-a-dress, but I've always felt like that looks weird on me, even with a narrower belt. So I tried it with the belt on the inside as well.

I was wearing my baby while I was shopping, as usual, so I didn't try it on; I just grabbed it and bought it. When I got home, I saw it had a huge tear in one side of the skirt. The material is sort of flimsy to begin with and isn't sewn that tightly. Fortunately, I hadn't removed the tags and was able to exchange it for a non-torn dress. But you can guess what happened the very first time I wore it out somewhere:

I'm thinking of either sewing it back with some kind of reinforcing fabric behind the seam or leaving it as a slit but hemmed on the edges. Sounds silly, but I just really love the dress.

While on that same mall trip, I'd seen this fabulous stretch belt at Know Style for only $10. It reminds me of one of my mom's from the 80s. I didn't know for sure if I'd get it until I saw the bird dress; I knew it would be perfect with it! I felt sooo stylish with this epiphany. Although I have to say, it looks much better with it in person than in the photos. I had a surprise after getting the belt home as well: a label saying it may contain lead and not to mouth or chew it. I know it was only $10, but good grief! Lead?!

I always seem to find that photos can wash out an outfit without enough accessories, so I thought, "I'm gonna go all out with this one!" Not so sure that was the right choice. I feel like it all looks a bit much. Maybe it should be either the belt or headband but not both? Or is it just the cowboy boots that cause the whole thing to be over the top? I wanted to be different from my go-to brown boots, but I think they just work better. In addition to trying different boots, I thought I'd try it with my orange cardigan as well to be different, sans belt. But I don't think it works as well. Not bad but not great.

Just curious what your thoughts are - what works and what doesn't? 

Do you ever feel really cute in something and then get disappointed about it when you see pictures? Should that matter?

P.S. If you have the song "Surfin' Bird" in your head from the post're welcome. Cuz it never fails to make me cackle.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

OUTFIT POST: Relaxed 70s Style

As promised, this is the way cool 70s cardigan I scored from Miskabelle. I LOVE IT. I knew I'd love it when I saw the pictures of it, but when it arrived, it was even better than my expectations. The bell sleeves are really different and fun. I like to imagine its original owner wearing it in some really funky way as they head out to go somewhere...well, funky. But I decided to do a casual, relaxed outfit around it this time. I don't know what it is, but this outfit makes me want to do errands and window shop on a crisp day.

It has orange and purple stripes, so of course I had to bring out my Airborne Unicorn lipstick by Lime Crime. Gotta add a little bit of fun even to a casual outfit!

Somebody stop me; I'm on a roll here! Actually, hubs and I did 3 outfits for the little afternoon photoshoot...I figured, why not do everything at once or they might not get done at all! I happily live on my daughter's schedule now. :) You may have noticed I've become a big fan of wearing low side ponytails and not just because we did multiple shoots. At least I'm wearing different pants than usual. ;)

Cardigan: Miskabelle
Lipstick: Airborne Unicorn by Lime Crime
Bird T-Shirt: Target (last year)
Pants: yep...still maternity for a while
Boots: know the ones
Moccasins: Target (and for the record, I hate thinking they're probably real suede)
Necklace: Smart Glass as part of the package when I bought Doria Roberts' album, 
which you really owe it to yourself to check out - actually, her latest CD would be the perfect music for strolling the park with my baby girl in this outfit :)

OUTFIT: Channeling Rashida Jones on "Parks & Rec"

I recently scored two new things from one of my very favorite etsy shops, Miskabelle. One of my new finds is a really cool 70s cardigan, which I'll feature soon in an upcoming post, and the other is the maroon and green button-up shirt you'll see below that I got for 15 bucks. The night after I ordered the shirt, I happened to turn on the TV to "Parks and Recreation," and Rashida Jones was wearing a very similar shirt. I got so excited that I had to pause it on the TiVo and take a picture of the screen. Fortunately, I found a better image on the web site. The episode is where Amy Poehler is campaigning and does a bowling night, and this is what Rashida's character wears to bowling:

I got my husband to do a little outfit photoshoot for me, and I've finally realized what the trick is to turning him into a good photographer: he just needed his own iPhone. lol I admit I felt kind of selfish as a new mom doing it until I thought about it. He was wearing our baby, so she was in the wrap, outside, and being walked around - pretty much her favorite things, and the dogs were running around in the yard with us. Everyone was happy. I am trying to remind myself that it wouldn't have been selfish anyway. But I am still struggling with that a little. Now if I could just finish this blog post...

I always feel validated style-wise when I buy something from Miskabelle because Jayme and Amanda are really stylish gals who have a true eye for unique but wearable fashion (not to mention a really interesting and stylish blog with loads of outfit ideas). I honestly feel like if something is in their store, it passes the style test, and I don't even have to think about it. Then when I saw a similar shirt on the gorgeous Rashida, I felt even more stylish.  

I decided to first do the outfit somewhat similar to Rashida's. I don't have brownish pants like that (I think they are brown - ?) or a gray cardigan...or bowling I improvised with my gray hoodie, trusty Heidi Klum maternity jeans (good thing I like them; I will still be wearing them for a while yet, methinks), and my also-trusty tall boots. I feel like I take blog pictures in these jeans and boots all the time. But they just seem to work with everything. I like layering and wanted some extra length, so I used a white lace-trimmed tank. I like this outfit for its casual feel. It's very fall-ish. Goes well with our unraked yard even though it's winter. ;)

You are looking at my necklace...right?? ;)
And now my spin on it to add some color and pep – or prep? – it up a little. This teal cardigan is also becoming somewhat of a trusty piece for me. You've seen it before, and you'll see it again. It's soft and lightweight, and the shape of it goes inward at the waist just so and really flatters your shape, and I always feel  good in teal.


Do you also notice the little details of what characters are wearing on TV? I have several outfits and other things that I share with characters on "Raising Hope," one of my all-time favorite comedies, and my baby has two outfits and the bouncer seen on recent episodes of "Parenthood." I'm constantly noticing things we own from IKEA on shows. Is it just me, or isn't that really validating to your sense of style? Not that much matters besides what you think yourself, but it's still kinda neat to say, "Hey! I have that!"

Plaid shirt: Miskabelle (I got some of my vintage maternity wear from them too.)
Jeans: Heidi Klum for Motherhood
Lace-trimmed white tank: who knows
Boots: a bargain from Ross a couple years ago
Gray hoodie: Target last year
Teal cardigan: Target a couple months ago
Bottlecap confidence necklace: Us! (Get yours here.)
Headband: another coveted creation by Garlands of Grace