Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday Ramblings

Today was just another one of those Mondays. I started the day off by checking on the forum I help to moderate. It's my friend's fitness forum and, no -- this doesn't mean I'm an expert when it comes to fitness. There was a thread flagged, so I checked in on it and found that we have a new troublemaker. *sigh* The forum never stays quiet for too long.

I did my moderating duties and then talked to my cousin. It's his birthday, so we chatted for a little bit. Actually, we talk anywhere from 2 to 4 times a week on average.

Then, it was off to work. I went through the Starbuck's drive-thru to pick up my usual: a tall Americano. I've been trying to kick the coffee habit for some time, but I always go back! I love my Starbuck's! Well, unfortunately, the guy didn't snap the lid on good and it popped open and made a big mess all over my console! GRRRR !!!! Luckily, I always keep a good supply of napkins in my car -- just in case!

Work was okay. I wasn't really focused today for some reason. I think it was the usual Monday blahs! Later, I was really craving some greens, so I treated myself to a chopped salad. It was more than I wanted to spend, and it really is not the healthiest salad with all that cheese and meat in it, but I NEEDED to eat a salad, and this was the best I could get today. I REALLY need to start prepping a huge salad on Sundays to take to work during the week!

I did get some happy mail today. I received a package of stamps that I had bought off a lady on a scrapbooking site. These are the Studio G stamps that are so popular. I know Ben Franklin sells this line of stamps, but the ones I usually see are the holiday ones. I have not seen the cupcake line there.

Now, aside from strawberries, I have a thing for cupcakes, and I really wanted these -- not like I don't already own enough cupcake stamps, but I got all 3 for $5.50 total, so it wasn't a huge investment. There is one more in the set that I wanted, but the gal selling these did not have that one. I could always get that one off Ebay one day. Anyway, I think they will go great on smaller-sized cards or tags. Sorry for the bad lighting. It's another one of those pics I'm taking at 3 in the morning! You can always click on the picture to see a larger version if you want to see the stamps up close! Aren't they just too cute ???

Speaking of EBay, I purchased an item from a seller on Friday and, after already paying for my purchase, I decided I wanted two more items from her store. I emailed her and asked if she could hold off processing my order until I decided and she agreed.

Well, she sent me a revised invoice today for the other two items, but hellooo.....!!! I wasn't too happy about the shipping charges. In her emails, she quotes a $1 additional charge for each additional item you purchase from her at the time of your first purchase. So, this meant that she was only supposed to charge me an additional $2 for the 2nd and 3rd items I bought from her. She charged me $3.65 for s & h.

I know...I know ... I know ... I'm being so CHANG, but HEY !!! Being overcharged is being overcharged! So, I wrote her back and she apologized and revised the invoice reflecting additional s & h charges of only $2 additional instead of $3.65. So, you see, my Chang self caught the error and saved $1.65. That's a $1.65 that can go towards my $2.09 Americano tomorrow morning! Yee-yahhhhh, boyeeeee !!! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Betty Swap 4 Goodies

I love to bake and cook, so when Marla on 2peas created her Secret Betty swap last year, I had to join in! Since then, there have been a few more Betty Swaps with Betty Swap 4 recently being wrapped up.

I didn't participate in 2 and 3, so I was anxious to participate in Betty Swap 4. The theme of this Betty swap was home state recipes. We had to send a cookbook from our home state, 3 kitchen items, a spring item and the special ingredients needed to make a local recipe. I chose Chocolate Haupia Pie for my state recipe. We were also required to send an item that represents our state.

Above is a picture from Rachel's gallery, which I stole (THANKS, Rachel!!!) because I didn't have time to take a good picture before I mailed it off. Actually, I think I was too anxious to send it!!! ~LOL~

I sent Rachel a can of coconut milk and chocolate for the pie. Since the package was sent right before Easter, I sent a bunny cookie cutter, an Easter egg themed cookie cutter/press set and a bunny cake pan.

Her kitchen is decorated with the colors maroon and olive green; and, she also loves Hello Kitty. So, for the spring item requirement, I sent her the perfect thing: a Hello Kitty wind chime set that was painted maroon! Unfortunately, you can't see it in the picture because it's still in the box!

For my state item, I chose to send some guava jam to my pal along with a chipboard album of the word "ohana". If you're familiar with the movie "Lilo and Stitch", you'll know that ohana means FAMILY. I thought about decorating it for her but then decided to leave it up to her so she could do it in her own fabulous style! Rachel is married with three handsome boys, and I figured she could definitely make use of this album for family pics! I hope she always remembers her swap pal in Hawaii whenever she looks at it.

In the package, I also included a few Hello Kitty items inlcluding a card I made for her. I fell in love with a few of the Hello Kitty Sizzlits dies that just came out recently and was excited to have the opportunity to use one of them to make a card for Rachel. I'll post pics of other cards using the dies in the future!

Now, on to the goodies that Rachel sent me! WOW, where do I even begin? She knows I love things with strawberries on them. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved anything that has a picture of a strawberry on it.

The recipe Rachel selected was Key Lime Pie. I was so happy to see a bottle of authentic key lime juice in my Betty Swap package! I know enough about key lime pies to know that no other lime will do. It's called "Key Lime Pie" for a reason! ~LOL~ She also managed to pack a pie crust in there so well that it arrived uncracked! Also included was a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Other goodies include: two cookbooks, a lime juicer, lime/lemon keeper, measuring cups, an adorable vintage pie plate with a strawberry recipe on it, strawberry pin, vintage towel embroidered with strawberries, fun, bright green cleaning gloves, strawberry scented lip gloss, magnets and a grocery shopping list. My absolute favorite items were the strawberry wooden plaque, strawberry salt and pepper shakers and the strawberry potholder! HOW CUTE are they ?!?!?! She also made me a cute card with strawberry patterned paper. I kept pulling goodie after goodie out of the box. Rachel was a great and fun pal! (THANKS AGAIN, RACHEL !!!)

BTW, I did get a chance to make the pie on Easter and it got RAVE reviews. Even finicky Miss Mikayla fell in love with it and has been bugging me to make more! I'm so glad Rachel sent me a large bottle of the key lime juice! I did take pictures of the pie but, unfortunately, I deleted them by accident! I will be making more pies in the near future and will post the recipe and pics when I do!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Goodies from Coffee Swap Round One !

I finally got around to taking pics of the goodies I received from my coffee swap pal, Jordan. She sent me a box of coffee goodness which included: a coffee mug, cute coffee memo set, coffee mug - shaped timer, coffee notecard set, chocolate truffles from Starbucks (YUM), a coffee and tea cookbooklet from Gooseberry Patch (LOVE Gooseberry Patch), some cute stickers, different teas to sample and some chocolate-covered coffee beans. The beans aren't in the picture because I already ate them...TEE HEE...

There were two more items and, I must say, they were my favorite goodies in the box. Jordan made me this GORGEOUS notebook that was stamped, colored and blinged up for me! She also sent me a set of coffee-themed acrylic stamps that are too cute! I can't wait to make some cards with those! THANKS for being an AWESOME swap pal, Jordan!!!

Oh, My !!! LIME RICKEY !!!!

Oh, my! Have you seen the latest by BasicGrey? Their Lime Rickey line was just released about a week ago and I just had to get my hands on it !!! I know it's a bit FUNKY for some people, but I absolutely love the colors and the playfulness of this line. I already have plans to use it on a few layouts I need to work on.

The pp in this line have names of drinks like Fruit Fizz (see above), Rob Roy, Lemon Drop and Fuzzy Navel. How CUTE is that ?!?!? I absolutely LOVE the Cherry Cola pp and have the perfect project to use it with!

This one here is called Howdy Doody. I don't think that's the name of a drink, but it's a cute name nonetheless! The birds are way too cute also!

This line also includes buttons and brads. I'm still waiting to get my hands on some because they weren't available at the LSS yet! I love the bright, primary colors, and I think this line would go well with either boys, girls, kids or adults! I'll be sure to post my projects using this line. I'm just waiting on my printed pictures to come in!

Show Your Love Swap Items

Here are some boy-themed items I created for my swap pal, Alaina. I have a daughter, so I don't ever scrap boy pages. Also, I'm a real girly-girl, so boy-themed stuff just don't do it for me. Sure, they can be cute and all, but I just don't get as excited about them as I do with girl-themed items.

With this swap, we sent our own cardstock, pp and embellies to the partner assigned to us. That person then created items using all the materials we sent. Alaina sent me some cute stuff from the Making Memories Animal Crackers line along with some other boy-themed embellies.

Despite my uneasiness creating pieces for boy layouts, I found that this was one of my most favorite swaps! I liked that I had to work outside of my comfort zone. I'm always looking to expand myself creatively, and this was one way I was able to do that. I also really enjoyed the challenge of making each piece unique. I made matted photo boxes, inchie-type tags, regular tags, journaling spots, title toppers and embellished circles.

I created about 15 different pieces total. Here are just some of them. I apologize for the bad pics. It was nighttime and I used a flash. For whatever reason, I had chosen not to wait until the next morning to take the pics in better lighting. The one on the top left, with the alien, has white Thickers on it, but the flash washed it out.

In any event, I was really glad when Alaina said she loved everything! This is definitely a swap I would look forward to doing again in the future.

iPhone Love

After many months of hemming and hawing, I finally made the decision to switch over to AT&T and get an iPhone. I was hesitant to leave T-Mobile because of the Five Faves Plan that they offer. It helps in that I don't ever need to worry about Mikayla using up too many minutes.

I thought about jailbreaking an iPhone to use on the T-Mobile network, but with my luck, I'd probably be in that small minority of people who end up bricking their phone somehow. So, I bid adieu to T-Mobile and moved in with AT&T!

I have NO REGRETS. I absolutely HEART my iPhone, and it's one of my most FAVORITE things! I am so impressed with all the things it can do! I love, love, LOVE the endless options the applications provide. Many are free or only 99 cents.

Of course, I LOVE the convenience of accessing the internet from anywhere. Sure, this can be done with other PDA type phones (I used to have a T-Mobile Dash at one time), but the iPhone just BLOWS all other phones out of the water. At least, I think so!

The graphics are clear and vivid. Although the connection isn't as quick as my DSL, I am still very pleased with the online browing experience with the iPhone. I should add here that I'm somewhat of a computer geek. I love surfing the net, and I also love little gadgets!

I did have an mp3 player before, but the music subscription service I was using was kind of a pain in the ass. I am now back with iTunes and I LOVE that my phone doubles as my music player! Now, when I go jogging, I don't have to worry about carrying an mp3 player AND a phone.

I do have a few games on my phone. They include : Bejeweled 2, Bubble Town, Sneezies, Super Market Mania, Tap Tap Revenge 2 and de Blob, to name a few. I'll admit that I actually play some of them when I'm laying in bed, winding down or, when I'm waiting somewhere.

Some of the fun applications I recommend to friends are:

Shazam: hold it up to the radio and it will identify the name and artist of the song

Urbanspoon: finds restaurants in your neighborhood based on preferred cuisine and price range

OneTap Movies: looks up movie listings at your neighborhood movie theater and allows you to see previews

I also have a bunch of fitness apps as well as a Bible app on my iPhone. Basically, my phone is now like a little computer that I can throw in my purse. I love downloading podcasts using my iPhone and listening to them in my car on the way to and from work.

There are other options like downloading movies and audio books, etc... If you have an iTouch, you can do these things too, but I don't need to worry about buying one of those since my iPhone does all of that!!!

If you are thinking about jumping on the iPhone bandwagon, STOP THINKING about it and JUST DO IT !!! You will not regret it !

I really cannot stress how impressed I am with this product. And, no -- I won't work for Apple or AT&T. ~LOL~ In all honesty, if you're not into computers and gadgets, this phone may not be for you. But, if you like the idea of having a phone do many different things for you, then definitely consider this one!

Java Junkie Wall Hanging

Here is a wall hanging I made for my coffee swap pal, Jordan. This wall hanging was inspired by a Maya Road project. I absolutely *heart* Maya Road products!

I used scalloped chipboard and painted with green Making Memories paint. I used BasicGrey pp in blue and green since they are two of Jordan's favorite colors.

I used chipboard letters by Maya Road and covered with Martha Stewart glitter. I'm having a blast playing with glitter these days!

The sheer bird is by Maya Road and happened to match the bird-themed pp by My Mind's Eye that I used on the coffee mug chipboard.

I don't normally like to freehand things (just not my thing as I tend to be anal about things being PERFECT), but I had no choice with the steam from the mug. I added a little bit of Stickles to the steam to jazz it up a tiny bit.

Jordan also likes pink, so I used a pink felt flower on the mug. For some strange reason, it shows up as red in the pictures.

I don't remember who made the rub-on, but I thought it went perfect with the wall hanging since Jordan not only loves coffee, but she also works as a barista at Starbuck's!

Here's a pic that Jordan posted. It shows all of the goodies I sent her minus two other bags of coffee which she and her co-workers already drank! Oh, and she absolutely LOVED her wall hanging! This was an easy and fun project. I can't wait to make others!

Lil Man

Just wanted to share a few pics of my little nephew, David. He's four and smart as a whip. It's definitely different spending time with a little boy after having raised a quiet, mellow girl like Mikayla.

Here's a pic of us at the movie theater. Mikayla took this one with my iPhone.

Here's one Mikayla took with her cell phone. I think this one is HILARIOUS, and it really shows off my nephew's energy and personality!

Here are a few others I took later that day. I have the one above and these being printed up. I can't wait to scrap them. I'm so not used to scrapping boy pages since I have a girl, and it's nice to step outside of the box. I already have my paper picked out. Just waiting on the pics!

Which Team Are You On ??? (More Twilight Mania)

So, Mikayla is a Twilight fanatic. For Easter, she wanted a Twilight t-shirt along with some Twilight candy and pins that Borders was selling. Now, as a Christian, I felt a little weird giving her vampire-related items for a religious holiday, but that's just me. I'm not saying I'm some holy roller or anything like that. I'm definitely not. I'm just ... you know...saying (that it was weird...LOL). I did cave in and get her the items she wanted and wrapped them along with some candy in a cute Easter basket. I just figured ... eh, God will understand that it's just about a movie and not that we're like... worshipping blood-suckers, right???

Anywho, the child is absolutely in love with the movie "Twilight" and the character, Edward Cullen. Mikayla is definitely all for TEAM EDWARD. Don't ever ask her about Jacob because -- GASP!!! -- Jacob is a WEREWOLF, don't cha know?!?!? Therefore, Jacob is the ENEMY!!! *rolls eyes* This means, you must NOT buy the child anything with JACOB (GASPPP!!!) on it unless you want to risk the wrath of a pubescent, lovesick teenager. *SIGH*

A few weeks ago, we were at the post office and, as I drove out of the parking lot, I spotted a black car in front of me decked out with the Twilight logo and several of the famous quotes from the movie!!! Mikayla was so excited and wanted to take pictures with her cell phone, but the car was driving off.

The following week, we were at the post office again and, as luck would have it, the Twilight car was there! I don't remember why, but we didn't take pictures of it. Funny that we ran into it twice, though.

Then, last weekend, we were babysitting my nephew, David. He loves Panda Express, so we went there for lunch. As we walked out, I spotted the Twilight car in the parking lot !!!! The lady who owns it was in the driver's seat talking on her cell phone.

Mikayla really wanted to take some pictures of the car this time and talk to the lady who owns the car. So, I went off to grab a few things from the store across the parking lot while she waited. After waiting for a while, the lady got out of the car to grab some lunch from Panda. She knew Mikayla was waiting to take pictures and, she was kind enough to take the time to talk to her. She was very appreciative of the fact that Mikayla was polite enough to ask before taking pictures.

She explained that she loved the movie so much that she paid someone to add the logo and quotes to her car. She even uses Twilight t-shirts for her seat covers (EDWARD, OF COURSE). As to be expected, she gets a LOT of attention and people are always taking pictures of her car. She asked that Mikayla not take any pictures of her license plate, though. These pics aren't the best because they were taken with Mikayla's cell phone. I just wish we had a picture of the entire vehicle, but hopefully, we'll run into the car again soon!

I know ... I know ... it's been FOREVER !!!

So, it's been a few months since I've blogged (SORRY). Just been busy concentrating on swaps, working out and, wellll....LIFE, in general -- life outside the internet, that is. I do have a bunch of different things to share, and I will have to do that a little at a time! I'll see what I can cover tonight.

Where to begin ... wellll... let's start with this crazy Twilight phenomenon that has swept the nation. Mind you, I'm not a big fan of vampires, but I did find myself thoroughly enjoying the movie. I have yet to read the books, but Mikayla has already read all four in the series and has been bugging me to read them. She is a voracious reader (just like her Mama back in the day), and she read these books in a time span of not more than 3 weeks.

We never did make it to the theater to watch the movie, so I took her and a friend to the DVD release party at Borders back in March. We got there about a half hour early to ensure that we'd be able to grab some good seats -- and some drinks from Starbuck's before the festivities began!

The store began to fill pretty quickly. As expected, the crowd consisted mainly of teens and some women. The crowd was split into two teams for a trivia game.

Mikayla and her friend stood on the side watching. Unfortunately, it really was quite boring and not quite the "party" we had thought it would be. I guess I envision music, decorations and, well ... ya know... PARTYING. Sadly, that was not to be. It was pretty much a yawnful so, eventually, we sauntered off to another part of the store to read some books.

All in all, we were a little disappointed with the DVD release party. After looking at some books, we decided to call it an evening and return home to watch "Twilight" on Pay-Per-View.

Before watching the movie, I had heard a pretty good mix of reviews. Some people REALLY loved the movie. Others criticized the writing and acting. Now, I'm one of those persons that normally is irked with sub-par acting. Maybe I just got sucked into the love story, but I found myself really enjoying this movie! I found myself intrigued by Edward and how cool and mysterious his character was. Okay, the whole diamond skin thing he did was kind of weird, but other than that, Edward was a pretty cool cat!

The only problem with the movie is that it's part 1 of a 4-part (for now) series, and it leaves the watcher itching for more! Oh, well ... looks like I'll be reading all 4 books sometime soon!