I’m feeling quite lucky… every time I put a good display together, I sell the piece of furniture right under its nose :) So, in the spirit of being able to purchase more fun pieces, I give you… new springy themed displays! (Thank you for indulging me yet once again! hehe!)
The whole of the Easter display is overwhelming… I have things draping from the ceiling and little bunnies and ornaments everywhere… a picture just didn’t make sense, I instantly wanted to look for Waldo. There are two pictures from the baby section and two pictures from part of the jewelry section… just to mix it up a bit :)
I’m happy to report the store taxes are almost done and most paperwork is complete! I think I should write that in German, too… Die Schreibarbeit ist erfolgt! There, it feels even MORE real now! There’s something about German to give you a warm, fuzzy, concrete feeling inside.
It’s been quite cold outside… we’ve been doing a lot of walking while bundled up in layers of shirts and puffy jackets. The dog loves it. Most of the time, we aim for a beverage hut as our half-way point (i.e… Starbucks or Coffee Bean) to reward ourselves with ample calories. The pup gets a cup of the “good” water and we hike back home. I love cold weather… it’s comforting :)
Not the best picture, but here’s today’s sunset. Cloudy and bluey-purple up top with reddish-pink light coming through. Crisp. California sure is swell :)
Please think a happy thought for our friend Wendy who passed away this Sunday morning… Her family and friends are surrounded by so much love right now, but I’m sure they could use a little more :)
I wanted to share a picture of a display I’m almost finished with! It was such a gloomy day outside today, it was fun to play with cheery colors!
The “E-n-j-o-y” letters were made by Deb Damboise… each one was totally different than the next! They looked perfect with my display and she even threw in some extra little cocktail umbrellas so I could put them on the shelves to match the Enjoy letters! (The “E” has a little orange umbrella attatched!). I owe that creative lady an email or two ;)
If I could join Graycee’s cupcake of the month club, I would in a heartbeat. The only downside, she only gives you two at a time ;) Her little fairy cakes are so good!! Thanks again Graycee, these were gone in 2.3 seconds!!!! :) She is quite the chef, I would like to return the favor and cook or bake for her, but I’m afraid she wouldn’t come over again ;) Although, with the hours of Food Network studying I’ve done, I may get 2 or 3 stars on the Graycee scale… although “stars” may be too pedestrian, there might be some calculus involved in her grading scale ;)
I slept in and missed the Long Beach Swap on Sunday so… after lounging around for a few hours I got the crazy idea that we should drive up North to SLO or Santa Barbara and find a last minute hotel or something… just for a change of scenery. And the more the merrier of course! So, Nathan, my Mom and I loaded the van with 3 dogs and drove up to Santa Barbara to suprise our friend Pam!
Pam was kind enough to let us crash at her place… this brought the household furry friend total to 4. It was a tad overwhelming for all of us, even the dogs. The field trip was enough to wear out our golden, Meg, who slept all day Tuesday.
On Sunday evening, we rented The Ladies’ Man with Jerry Lewis from Video Schmideo on State Street. Last time I watched that I was 8, I think it was more exciting then. Pam said something about Barbara and her nostalgia trip (we had to go to two video stores in the rain to find this dvd)… I guess they saw this film at the Goleta drive in when they were 8. The next day we had a lovely brunch at the Brown Pelican then headed off to the beach, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!
We also hit a few thrift stores (SCORE!!! I’ll have to post those pics later) and drove around Montecito… which is gorgeous!!! This is where Oprah’s new home is and I’ve been told her favorite restaurant is Trattoria Mollie. We didn’t get a chance to stop because we had 4 wet and tired dogs in the car, but I’m definately going back to explore their little town. I’ve decided I’m going to move to Montecito and open another Violets are Blue here ;) I plan on opening at least a dozen stores across the US… I’ll need good managers and buyers… any takers? ;)
For some reason, I feel the need to put an Otter Pops shirt on Meg after a long day… I know it’s strange, but it makes us both happy ;)
I needed some cheering up this evening, and thought I would look up this little animation. The first year I was at Calarts, we viewed this on 16mm film in the Bijou Theatre. I was instantly enchanted and wanted to run back to my cubby and draw dragonflies in flight. The piece has some mixed history, but I think it’s brilliant nonetheless :) Kind of “A Bug’s Life” ish, ain’t it? ;) Coincidentally, the article in the last link was written by the teacher who taught the class I saw the film in. This teacher, William Moritz, passed away recently. He was quite passionate about animation and experimental animation… I think a little bit of that rubbed off on me the day I saw this film :)
I’m debating getting up bright and early to head over to the Long Beach Swap meet. If you happen to be up before 9am and you think of me, could you think energetic thoughts for me? I would even accept thoughts of coffee smells and thoughts of amazing little goodies calling me as they sit on cafeteria tables, baking in the sun ;)
This really fun idea is brought to you by Tyn of Pookieville :) Over 100 people participated (I think!). Everyone sent out 10 postcards… in theory they were supposed to arrive at their destinations in time for Valentine’s day… but I have only received 5 and my 10 were sent out on the 12th (oops). So, it seems that lots of these cards will be trickling in over the next week or so ;)
I have scans of the 10 cards I made. When I get closer to getting the 10 from the other artists, I’ll post them right here :)
I opted to do each card differently… most of these characters should look familiar if you follow my blog ;)
Each card was hand drawn with chalk pastels and colored pencil and had glass glitter and/or swarovski glitter accents and a few had tinsel fringe borders :) I enjoyed doing these… I’m amazed at all the talented artists that participated in the swap, a few have posted their postcards on flickr, check it out and enjoy!
I’m thinking of doing a giveaway in the next few weeks so please check back :) I have to decide what to give out (St. Patty’s or Easter or??) and some of the logistics ;)
The week has officially caught up with me… time for a bubble bath followed by some scrubs (my new obsession) and bed ;) Goodnight everyone!!!
or is it greenhouse gases? In any case… Happy Valentine’s Day Eve :)
I thought I would have time to do a nice long blog and do some paperwork (seeing as it IS “paperwork Tuesday”) but it’s been swamped in here today! Lots of head-scratching, disoriented guys, too ;) Speak of the devil, there’s another one now!
7 hours have gone by… the shop kept me busy today! (no complaints here!!!)
I wanted to share a few pictures of the shop and some of the goodies we got from Deb Damboise. She’ll be happy to know we’ve sold a few cards and a few of the hanging hearts :)
Some of Deb’s beautiful handmade cards…
Some of her collaged hearts…
Love that lamp…
And last but certainly not least… a quick run downtown and to the candy wholesaler yielded lots of sugary goodies. The candy place made my head spin… and it’s even more dangerous going here than going to the grocery store while hungry, you don’t just bring home one package of something, you bring home 9 pounds of the stuff. I may be re-tiling the roof with taffy.
The next few blogs… my goals are to discuss the pitfalls of advertising locally, the Valentine’s card swap hosted by Tyn, another “calling all crafters“, how I’m lame and don’t answer all my email, my stuffed shell experiment, celebrating Arbor Day in style, how I want to build an igloo in time for the summer and other assorted nonsense.
We left on this cruise having no idea what we were doing… we took advantage of a last minute deal and were quite newbies to the vacation at sea. Okay… I’m practicing my HTML so these little thumbnails will open up a photo gallery on another page. You can click on each one as you see fit or just look at the entire photo album here, it’s up to you :)
We left San Diego at about 4:00 pm. It was so neat to sit in our own little balcony and sail out of the harbor as the sun was setting. We haven’t had a lot of time to go and explore San Diego, we usually head straight for the theme parks. We were at sea for that night and two full days. We arrived in Acapulco the following day at 1:00 pm.
Day Four- Acapulco, Mexico
I felt a little like the Griswolds heading out to Wally World. We pulled into port and I got my walking shoes on and got our tourist hats ready to go. We had high hopes of Acapulco being breezy, beautiful and worthy of Frank Sinatra’s Nod. Alas… we got off the boat to explore on our own. BIG mistake. We were hounded, propositioned (I’ll keep this version G rated!), followed, talked to, talked at and basically your run-of-the-mill harrassed. After being herded to a crappy jewelry store which had armed guards at the front door we RAN back to the ship. On the way we saw an open-air truck spilling over with armed men with very large firearms. Even while power walking the vendors approached us aggressively and matched our speed to try to get us to follow them…my spanish popped back into my head at this point (Thank you Nonee and Mrs. Conway!). I may have made up words but hey… be crazier than they are and you’ll have a fighting chance! (learned that with the crazy bracelet lady!). We got back to the ship, caught our breath and marched right to the purser’s desk. We told them about our terrible experience and urged them to make this clear during the “excursions talk” that Acapulco is for excursions ONLY. Honestly, Nathan was ready to go home at this point and was being more than persuasive that we should get on the next plane, go home and try to salvage our vacation. The acting manager at the purser’s desk was not apathetic or sympathetic. Mind you we were really upset (perhaps overly so), but she actually hid in the back and let the other employee help us. Seeing as I wasn’t about to get off the boat with my belongings and try to find the airport, we stayed on the ship… but it was a rough night. We felt a tad trapped and annoyed that Carnival’s staff wouldn’t listen to us. I relayed this to a customer at the shop the other day and she said… “Didn’t you know Carnival Cruises were the K-mart of the sea?” Ugh. No, I didn’t know that… but even K-Mart had (or still has?) Martha Stewart everyday!!! Redeeming graces!??!!!
If you are en-route to Acapulco, please check the news first, I just checked wikipedia and got this quote:
“There has been a lot of violence in Acapulco lately, both between rival drug gamgs, and also towards tourists. On February 6, 2007, gunman killed about 6 or 7 people with guns. Tourists are not immune from the violence, either. Beatings and shootings have been directed against them as well.” I also read in a lonely planet travel journal that Acapulco is the “older diva past her prime”. Are you listening Carnival Cruise Lines??? eek! :) We should have gone to see the famed cliff divers, especially if they were wearing these shorts… meeowww.
Day Five – Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa, Mexico
We went to bed disappointed and missing home… but… as the sun rose, we slowly pulled into the little fishing town of Zihuatenejo. I almost cried. It wasn’t overly populated, the shore was gorgeous and it looked tropical and inviting. We couldn’t dock because this port was so small so we took smaller boats to their tiny pier. It was the most welcoming sight… sandy clean beaches dotted with little boats and pelicans. Palm trees, sea shells and a little walkway that ran along the coast. There were vendors here but they were delighful, selling beautiful items and completely respectful. I want to go back. I can’t say how delightful it was in just one paragraph!!!
We got onto a very nice bus and headed to Ixtapa. There, we got to swim with 2 wonderful dolphins! You were allowed to pet them, give them a kiss and then you got TWO rides from them! One where you hold onto their front fins and the dolphin swims backward and one where the two dolphins swim in tandem, each little nose pushing on a foot and they push you across the pool in the air! Those guys are STRONG! I got the most welcomed foot cramp. I have to say, they are magical. After our horrid day in Acapulco, this experience officially turned the fiasco into a “vacation”. Check out Delfiniti, Ixtapa’s Website… you’ll want to go, too :)
There were armed men in Zihuatenejo, but they were dressed nicely and wandered around in two’s, not dozens. But that size gun was standard. Imagine if LAPD carried these around!
Mucho feliz campers at this point. That would be the famous “I’ll hold the camer and hope for the best” shot.
Day Six – Manzanillo, Mexico
Ahh… Manzanillo… Carnival DID warn us that we wouldn’t want to just wander off the pier into Manzanillo, so we made a reservation for an excursion to a beach resort, Barcelo’s Karmina Palace, for the afternoon. On the ride there I saw a wild iguana and the little shops reminded us of Key West. Very welcoming and quaint. The resort was amazing. I wanted to stay there! We swam in the ocean in their own little cove, which had rocks in the shallow areas so be careful! We saw all sorts of fish, birds diving to get to the fish and a first for me… a little fish found his way into my bathing suit. Again, “G” rated, but we named him “Cleve”… you do the math :) At first I was like… I found nemo, he’s so cute! He swayed back and forth with the current… then it hit me… what if he bites! What if he… gulp… TOUCHES me!!! So, with minimal panic we showed Cleve the exit, my hair got wet and we exited the ocean to wander around the resort. Tropical, lush and away from everything… I want to come back here.
I took this picture, got up to change and get us an ice blended “Monkey” drink…
and he took the EXACT same picture while I was gone…
As we were leaving Manzanillo’s “in box”, we crossed a section of residential homes and apartments. The locals were outside, sitting on benches watching us leave. Sweet little voices shouted “adios…. hasta luego!” as they ran down the shore, prompting all the neighborhood dogs to bark. Then people from the ship started yelling back in spanish “Adios… goodbye… Hasta… Muchas Gracias”. it went back and forth for about 5 minutes and it was so touching! I’m still not 100% sure it was sincere since I heard a few things that sounded like obscenities from gruff deep voices… and “Viva Mexico!”. So… all I know is that I wanted to scoop up one of those sweet little kids and I could take or leave the groups of men and their potty mouths, even though it was effective in espanol. I did my fare share of shouting… I thanked them and… just for kicks… I yelled “Gooooaaaaallll”. Perhaps that’s why the men started shouting the not-so-endearing sentiments. I was in the moment, what can I say.
Day Seven to Nine – At sea
At sea… we went to the “disco”, gambled, walked around the upper deck, were kareoke voyeurs, took in a comedy show, avoided the hypnotist show (we heard later he got a housewife to take her blouse off) and played in the game room… and although he won one or two games of air hockey, I’m still the reigning champ ;) Many have asked about the food… well…
The food was “okay”. We ate at the dinner club one night and it was an extra $100.00 but well worth it. A seven course meal, including “surprises” from the chef. Filet Mignon, french onion soup, salad, odd salmon things that I didn’t eat, and the most amazing chocolate dessert I’ve ever had. ever. I wish I had a picture but I didn’t want to be snapping pics in this restaurant. We ate about 4 or 5 nights in the nightly assigned seated dining hall. We skipped the formal debutante ball (I exaggerate) nights and had the pizza bar those nights. Every single day consisted of caesar salad… at the pizza bar, formal dinner club or regular seating… always that darn caesar salad. I had a steak one night (ick, dry), quail one night (surprisingly good), skipped the rabbit night, had chicken and pasta the other nights. Even though we requested a table for two, it wasn’t our cup of tea for some reason. That dinner club though… really was awesome.
Room service – consisted of caesar salad, bagels, odd sandwiches, cereal and that’s about it.
The alternative dining – not as good as mall dining, but similar. Sandwiches, pizza, burgers in the afternoon (these were pretty good) and everything else was so-so.
Soda – You had to pay for sodas… we drank lots of iced tea, coffee and juice. “specialty” coffee was extra as was bottled water.
The gala buffet of nations – It was pretty, but odd food combinations. Lots of odd fish rolls, all cold cuts were held down with gelatin, peach rum cake with some odd jello-chocolate topping (ick), carved watermelon and lots of other things that I was not adventurous enough to put on my plate. Oh, and 5 devilled eggs that people were fighting over (one gentleman went as far as to pick one up off the floor and eat it) and 10 chocolate-covered strawberries that one happy little girl took all of.
All-in-all, it was a fun cruise… a very rocky start, but… most our vacations are :) Would we go again?? Perhaps. It really forced us to relax (although I’m sure I’ll freak out when I get my cell phone bill) and the balcony was awesome… I could just stare at the ocean for hours :) We were among a group of people aged mostly 50-70 and a smaller group of 18-22 year olds. So, we didn’t hear any of our popular music, the dj didn’t even have any of our requests… so, be prepared to hear such hit artists from Crystal Gale, Bette Midler, Grease the movie, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, lots of classic rock and Elvis. I heard the Alaska cruise is amazing… yet slightly boring. I think our next trip will be overseas… I really want to go to England and then over to Euro Disney… this time we’ll make the whole trip the excursion!!!! :)
**Quick Update – February 15th, 2007***
I just got my cell phone bill from Cingular for the month of our trip! Yikes!!! $100.00 extra to talk for about 20 minutes here and there and send a few text messages. On top of roaming rates you get international tax surcharges!!! We have a pretty beefy family plan… I never go over minutes or text message allotments so this was a huge jump in our bill. So, keep your talking at a minimum and tie up any loose ends at home before you leave! :)
I’m sifting through the hundreds of pictures we took and I’ll be posting them later today/tonight :)
A HUGE thank you to everyone who came to the store and left those awesome comments below about my strange encounter earlier in the week… I had no idea there were so many readers out there :) I got some great tips and lots of justification for listening to my instincts ;) You are all too kind!!! It’s pushed that darn “faith in humanity” gauge in my mind back into the default position… plus a few karma points ;)