Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Despite this blog having gone almost entirely dormant (hopefully temporarily), I cannot let 2013 end without my usual Year in Review. This time with a video montage!!!





  *=Answers the same as last year.


1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Started a business!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
These are last year's resolutions, and whether or not I completed them:
1) stick to a budget - nope!
2) healthy weight after baby - meh, not really!

I'm not going to make any resolutions - I just generally have it in mind for 2014 to be the year of finding my stride and my balance between work and home/family.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
ME!!! I had a baby!  Also, my best friend had her second baby, and some other friends and family also had babies. Yeah babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year.

5. What places did you visit?
My dad in Buffalo, NY
Our friends the Bishops in Carbondale, IL

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A VACATION!!!!!!!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 16 - the date Naomi was born

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting a business that has so far been successful beyond what I expected.

9. What was your biggest failure?
*Lack of discipline in the areas of healthy eating, exercise and spending. (It's the same every year, when will I ever change?!!!)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing huge. Colds, tummy bugs, that sort of thing.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I don't know, my double stroller? Didn't spend a lot of money on myself this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband, for working his butt off to take care of us, and for generally being a great dad and friend.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Most everyone in our government.

14. Where did most of your money go?
food and student loan payments

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having my baby girl!! Jamberry Nails!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I don't know, how about "Royals" by Lorde? Because it is the only 2013 song I can think of right now. I don't really keep up with music much these days. #oldlady

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? thinner
c) richer or poorer? richer, but not by much!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
*Laughing, exercising, sleeping

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
*Eating junk food, wasting time, worrying

20. How did you spend Christmas?
*Several parties with family and friends

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Besides with Naomi, Josiah, and my husband Jim? No. WAIT, YES. With the Eleventh Doctor. (see below)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Doctor Who

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
*Nope. I don't hate people.

24. What was the best book you read?
A Dance with Dragons - George RR Martin. I haven't read much since Naomi was born, sadly.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
*Can't say I made a great one this year. I listen to a lot of classical, film soundtracks and ambient music more than anything these days.

26. What did you want and get?
A home of our own. We technically don't HAVE it yet, but it is under contract and YES, WE ARE MOVING!!!!!!!! In January!  AHHHHHH!!!!!  Also, I got those tweed TOMS that I said I wanted last year. Wore them today, in fact. But that's a little less of a big deal.

27. What did you want and not get?
A new (to me) car. Also a million dollars. Kidding! (not kidding.)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Did I even go to the movies this year?? I watch way more TV shows than movies, so I can't even think of an answer for this.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Slept in!!! Spent the day with my immediate family, ate good food, opened early Christmas gifts, watched It's a Wonderful Life. Turned 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being a little bit more organized and put-together. I am way too stressed and scattered and have made way too many "oops, I forgot" mistakes. Also, I wish I could have kept up with this blog in the midst of everything else.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Frumpy-chic? I finally embraced the skinny jean, for better or worse. Cardigans are still my signature piece.

32. What kept you sane?
Enya, Diet Coke, getting out of the house

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
*I don't really dwell on such things, honestly.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
ACA, aka ObamaCare

35. Who did you miss?
My friend Abby, and everyone in my little circle of the blogging world.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend and Jamberry sponsor, Adriane.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Do things right away if you can, or else write them down. You WILL forget. But if you can't do it right away, it can wait until tomorrow. Most emergencies are not really emergencies. Life will carry on.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
rent a tent, build a stage, throw a party, get a gown 
buy a ticket, rent a car, pack a bag and leave town, 
cook a dinner, clean the kitchen, hit the light, 
brush your teeth, read a book, say a prayer good-night 

everyone everywhere some way some how 
are setting up the pins for knocking em down 
it can feel simple but it's really profound...

"Setting up the Pins" by Sara Groves


Please link in the comments if you do a 2013 YIR as well. I'd love to read it!!!  xoxo


(See Previous Years: 2012201120102009 & 2008)



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amy's 2013 Small Business Gift Guide





For a long while now, I have made it a priority to patronize small businesses, especially those that are the projects of my friends and family, whenever I can. Since starting my own Jamberry business (the reason why this blog has gone dormant lately), I have become even more passionate about the importance of supporting small business owners of all kinds with our spending money.

To that end, I decided to put together a Small Business Holiday Gift Guide, in the hopes that it will bring customers and small proprietors together! How about staying home this Black Friday? How about shopping from folks like these people instead of from Amazon? There is some really great stuff here. So please - browse and BUY!!!



Bellah + Jude

Flipping adorable customizable tutus and headbands for ladies of any age, newborn to adult! Sewn with love by the beautiful Laura. You can email her at bellah.and.jude@gmail.com.
(That's my sweet Naomi there in the middle!)


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bhuey designs

Elegant and affordable hand-crafted jewelry inspired by media and literature. Choices include Downton Abbey earrings, Jane Austen hair pins, and Doctor Who necklaces!! Designed and created by my beautiful friend, Brigid.



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Gorgeous hand-knitted creations, carefully and skillfully created by the adorable Chelcie (who is loved by my kiddos!!)


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Designer Jules

Personalized and custom items that can be given as gifts at baby showers, wedding showers, as Christmas gifts, or just for fun. Made by the delightful Julia.


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Off-beat, and sometimes edgy, original artwork created by my buddy Dave. Perfect for children's rooms, or any room where you need a pop of color and bit of bizarre. All proceeds go to Barrel of Monkeys, a non-profit educational theatre company based in Chicago.


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Where sensible and stunning meet. Meticulously handcrafted bags [and more!!]. Original designs. Bespoke spoken here. Made by my lovely friend Suzanna.


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Homespun Fun Gifts & Homespun Fun Parties

Customized and handmade signs of all sorts: welcome, monogrammed, holiday and more!! Designed and created by the cute and fun Rachel, who also runs Homespun Fun Parties, an all-inclusive party planning company for young girls. Check out that website as well - what a unique gift idea, buy a party for the young lady in your life!!!



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Are you tired of painting your nails, only to have them chip within a day or two? Jamberry Nails are the solution! Salon quality nail wraps that you can apply yourself, will last up to two weeks on your fingernails and six weeks on your toenails. No smearing, no chipping, no chemicals, no dry time!! Unlike anything you can buy in the store or at the salon. We also carry a line of 5-Free Nail Lacquers, as well as hand and cuticle care products. Signature style at your fingertips.


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Sweet skirts for littles. Sewn by the lovely Annie.


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Embellished, appliqu├ęd, and personalized children's clothing; hand-crafted by sweet Elizabeth.


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State of the art products designed to improve quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning.



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Erin Buschhorn, Independent Designer with Origami Owl

More than just jewelry, with their Living Lockets™ and Tagged charms, Origami Owl brings you personalized jewelry that tells your story.


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Nichole Schlatter, Independent Consultant for Thirty-One

Thirty-One creates products that provide solutions to women on the go. Women deserve something to make them feel special, so check out what Thirty-One has to offer for the women in your life (or yourself!). Browse the catalog here and email Nichole at nicschlatt@hotmail.com with your orders!!!


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Meticulously and gorgeously handcrafted barrettes, forest friends, wallets, and more. Designed and created by the always elegant Abby.


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From Marci's website: "Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging, and educational books on the market today. They are high quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all they are the books kids love to read. Choose from almost 2000 bright colorful and fun titles covering a wide variety of subjects."



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In addition to these awesome small businesses that I have listed, please consider visiting independently owned brick-and-mortar shops in your city, hosting a party for an independent consultant that you know, checking out the Etsy shops and websites of other hand-crafters and artists, and also consider shopping with socially-conscious companies like Land of a Thousand Hills coffee company.

Support small business owners this Christmas and make a real difference in an individual's life!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Potty Training Bootcamp!!

Hey friends! Posting really quick while I have a few minutes because I need your wisdom!!

It is about time (past time?) to potty train Josiah, but I want to do it when I have several days in a row where I don't need to leave the house. That isn't going to happen until towards the end of the month - but I would like to get mentally and physically prepared in the meantime.

So - questions I already have:

1. For little boys, do you start training them to pee sitting, and move to standing later? Or since he is 3, should I just start training him standing up from the beginning?

2. What do you do at night? Stick with diapers? Training pants? Or do you try to go whole hog and train at night too?

3. I have a small potty that I can put anywhere (like, say, in front of the TV!), and I also have one of those seats to put on the big potty. Any strong opinions about which is a better idea??

All other tips, suggestions, recommendations, and warnings are more than welcome. Also, prayers and chocolate and wine. Ha.

xoxo



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Jamberry Nails

Hello friends! Just popping up for a moment to let you know that I am selling Breast Cancer Awareness Jamberry Nails for the month of October.

I've designed a sheet of wraps that will allow you to mix and match ribbons, solids, and patterns. Each sheet will get you 2-3 applications.





Each sheet is $20, so long as I get at least 5 orders. If you are interested, leave a comment and be sure to use your email address when commenting.


I hope to be back to regularly blogging soon, but I am barely keeping my head above water these days. This too shall pass, right? xoxo

Friday, September 20, 2013

Seven Quickest Takes

Linking up with the incomparable Jennifer Fulwiler.

1.  Tonight is my official Jamberry Launch Party!!! So I have been a'crazy and a'panicked with shopping and party planning. I really needed a party planning committee to help me with this, because while I love hosting parties, it totally stressed me out and I go WAY overboard. WAY. My mind was so racy with lists and reminders to myself and visualizations of how the party would flawlessly proceed, that I got about 2 hours of sleep last night. That bodes well for my mental stability this evening. Or not.


Mah speshul party nails!!

2.  DESPITE ALL THE THINGS, and due to apparently good planning and organization on my part, I have everything in place and ready to go, with both kiddos napping and over an hour before my husband gets home. How can this be?? So of course, I will not sleep, I will not clean. I will blog!


3.  Josiah has turned three, and I have not blogged about it yet. Oops. Soon, I promise!!


4. Naomi has turned five months, and I have not blogged about that yet either. Nor did I blog about her four months. Triple oops! Have I mentioned being busy lately?


5.  But I did get some portraits taken by an expensive and highly artistic photographer at Target, and my goodness, are my kids cute or what?




6.   This conversation happened earlier:

Josiah:  "Mom, it's time to clean up the crayons."
Me:  ... (looking at Facebook)
Josiah:  "Mom! It's time to clean up!"
Me: ...
Josiah:  "Mom. Mo-om. MOM!"
Me: ...
Josiah: "MOM! It's time to clean up! BE OBEDIENT!!!"

I died laughing. He is now using my own words against me. Rightfully so in this situation, I might add.


7.  I feel like I had about a million other things I have been saving up to tell you, but at this moment I can think of none of them. Say Lah Vee. I guess I had better go do something productive. Have a happy weekend!!! xoxo




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