Framily.

I recently was in a training for work where the moderator asked us to close our eyes and find a happy place. He recommended this technique as a way to reduce stress in the work place. Simply close your eyes, let your mind be still, and then let your heart take you to a better place. As I closed my eyes and let my brain slip into nothingness, I suddenly felt the warmest feeling, deep within my heart. Images of my dogs running through the room suddenly came to mind. I could feel myself laughing as I made eye contact with Hubby. A big smile crept across my face as I looked around and saw them. It was so clear now. My Framily is my happy place.

People always tell me how lucky I am to have such great friends, but I always respond to them the same way – “You don’t know the half of it.”

3 years ago Hubby and I moved to Austin, Texas, with no family and no friends. We moved for work like most people in Austin these days. We were lucky that we worked for Apple, because Apple doesn’t just hire smart people. They hire good people. Like-minded people. That is where I met A. IMG_9009He was married to C just a few months earlier than me and Hubby! We were 4 people, at the same place in life, with lots in common. They too IMG_5395just moved to Austin and didn’t know anyone. Our first “friend-date” we drove out to Enchanted Rock very early in the morning and just hiked and explored.
Then on the way home, we decided that wasn’t enough hanging out. We needed to get our swimsuits and drive straight to the river to float. So we did. These people have cried with me. They have laughed with me. Heck! I took them to Dallas to meet my family! I can’t imagine a life without them.

img_7486.pngMeanwhile back at the Apple store, I was hitting the Mac queue when a couple came up to the bar with their very handsome red Shiba. I chatted about Shiba’s as I carefully explained it was going to be a LOT of money to fix his computer that she had spilledIMG_0216 water on. Usually those conversations are the worst and awkward, so I let them slip away without getting their info. A week later, I see them in the store again back to pick up their computer with the handsome Shiba again! I knew it was fate. I exchanged Facebook contacts with G and S and started meeting up at dog parks. Before I knew it, our dogs were best friends. We even threw a New Years party at their house with all 8 of us. 2015 rang in perfectly.

My luck didn’t stop there. IMG_7382Once, at Whole Foods, I was standing in line for a beer and bonded with this random girl in line over a really
funny thing happening in the store. Turns out she was part of this “Brew Crew” thing, where people who like beer did beer stuff together. I was like “sign me up!”. I got to know her boyfriend M, and their friends K and N. We started bottle sharing regularly once a month. At these bottle shares, we don’t just share beer – we share our lives. I met K and N shortly after they were engaged, and am now so happy to see them get married.

Service Direct, my company, has also become more than just a place of work. It is my family. I mean… IMG_7465Just look at these guys – LOOK – aren’t they great. Some of the best people I know work here. We recently started hiring more people, and the conversation went more like “we want to hire the right people into this family.” I love that. I think we work best together because we approach it as a family. I love these people and would do anything for them. Never thought I would say that about a job.

From these friendships and similar interests, I started a pet project with C, G, and K – Basics and Beer.  Just 4 craft beer loving girls doing basic things and taking pictures of it. Besides beer, I love that we are picking up embroidery and trying out new crafting things together.

Then there were our dogs… A and C got a dog. Then J and K got a dog. Then we got Luke. Then G and S got another Shiba! It has been a whole dog thing. Between the 8 of us, we now have 6 puppers and 1 cat!

Back to my happy place. I looked around and saw my framily. My people. It was all of us. All of our dogs, just running around and playing. It is just so funny how life hands you something so special. You never know how a spilled glass of water or an uncertain move or some weirdos walking around a grocery store can change your life for the better. Take everything and cherish it, because you never know what it could become.

PIIT 28.

So by now, I bet you are wondering why I am spamming Instagram (@themrsnaylor) and Facebook with all these fitness pictures and motivating quotes.

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Well let me let you in on the secret – You are all my accountability.

I have been a part of the Blogilates community for about a year now, but never actively participated in a monthly challenge before. I decided it was time to stop thinking I couldn’t do it, and take the plunge. So I signed up to do the March PIIT 1.0 28 day challenge.

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What is that you might ask? Well PIIT stands for Pilates Intense Interval Training, a program created by Cassey Ho, founder of Blogilates. Basically, there are 7 challenging moves you do for 45 seconds each and repeat 4 times for a total work out of 28 minutes. There are also warm ups and flexibility cool downs you do before and after each workout.

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What I have loved most about this challenge so far is how much LOVE I am getting on Instagram! The Popster community is so strong and alive, and I am so happy to be a part of it. It is so awesome to see everyone so encouraging of each other and invested in not just their own PIIT challenges, but others as well!

I am picking a vinyl record to play during my work outs each night to really enjoy the music I listen to while I am in the zone, and not getting distracted by not liking what ever random song comes next in a workout playlist. While I am doing my workouts, Husband rides the stationary bike we got for the same amount of time. I am so proud of him for also embarking on a fitness journey of his own!

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This challenge for me is more than just losing weight. It’s about setting a routine – being habitual. It’s about getting stronger. It’s about loving who I am and where I am. The work out so far has left me energized and happier! I am actually looking forward to my evening workouts now! I am combining this with eating better, juicing and drinking protein drinks again, and still doing yoga 3-4 times a week to get to be the best version of myself!

All the love and support coming from my family and closest friends is overwhelming, and I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who want to see me succeed. I am going to post more about my journey here over the next month so please stay in touch! I am turning my “I Think I Can’t” attitude into “I Will” lifestyle. (Although I am skeptical I will make it all 28 days, I am publicly committed now, so here is to trying…)

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Back.

So life has been pretty crazy for a while! But no worries. I am still here and so is Husband and my 2 puppy babies.

Life has had quite a few changes for us recently. We sold the 4Runner and instead got a 2003 Land Cruiser for us to fix up and play with.

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We bought a new couch and my living room redecoration is pretty much complete now. Thankfully, because that was stressing me out. I started by getting rid of the black furniture around the living room. We built our own side table too! I added a double layer of curtains to the room to give the illusion the ceilings don’t go on forever. I got a lighter rug as well, which really gives the floor much more contrast from our darker hard wood floors. The finishing touch was a little gallery wall and our brand new couch!

I also did a lot of closet cleaning out – with lots of help from Luke and my foxy cousin.

 

A new resolution I have taken up is making one meal per week that I have never made before. This has really forced us to try new things and get out of our comfort zone of making the same thing every time just because it is easy. Highlights so far have been Homemade Chicken Pot Pie and Homemade Lasagna!

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Traveling for work took me to Cancun this January. I know… tough life. But I worked hard and played hard. This past week I have had a lot of fruitful actions come from my networking and connections made at the convention – the validation of seeing such hard work come to fruition is extremely satisfying and rewarding. I love my new job so much and am so blessed by the people I work with. They are each so different and funny and quirky and challenging all at the same time. My new position has stretched me in ways I didn’t know I could be pulled; I have learned so many new things and gotten to use many talents that were previously just dormant. We are starting a new phase in the company and I am sooooooooo excited to get to be a part of it – to say the least!

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Husband and I recently took up woodworking and we LOVE it! We built our own side table (previously mentioned) and for Christmas, we built our families corn hole boards! Husband did a lot of the “drill and saw” stuff, and I sanded and painted – loving every moment of it.

 

Luke and Leia are now inseparable. I never imagined they would end up being as close as they are. Luke hit 40 pounds and is finally slowing down in growth. Leia loves to boss him around and then cuddle with him for a nice nap! Getting Leia a brother was the best decision we could have made for her. I believe he has made her a better dog.

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Life is good, and its only getting better from here! Stay tuned for all the crazy new things we will be up to!

Identity Crisis.

I feel so bad.

Every time Luke looks at himself, he struggles to know who he really is. What is his heritage? Where did he come from? What will he become?

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So in a good effort to support our sweet adopted boy, we have ordered a DNA test for him. It is really amazing everything the test can tell you. All kidding aside, the test cross references over 140 diseases he could be vulnerable or prone to, as well as what his estimated weight could be.  But I know what you all care about – WHAT THE HECK IS HE?!

We were wondering that too of course. We obviously know he is a mutt, and he will be mostly one breed, but have a few more mixed in there. So, all in good fun, we are hosting our first I Think I Can’t Contest – Identity Crisis.

Rules to enter –

  1. You must email ithinkicant.atx@gmail.com with your NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS with your TOP 2 guesses on what Luke’s breed is.
  2. The first email entry with the correct guess will be sent a Grand Prize Austin, Texas prize pack.
  3. The 100th email entry will be sent a smaller Austin, Texas prize pack.
  4. The second email entry with the correct guess of his second breed will be sent a smaller Austin, Texas Prize pack.
  5. You may only enter ONCE. All second guess entries will not be counted.
  6. You must include your NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS to be properly entered to win. All entries missing this information will not be counted.

As always, feel free to follow us on Instagram @_lukelovesleia for updates on the contest, and daily pics of his appearance to help you make the most educated vote!

I am a very fair person, so I will give you as much as we know!

  1. We got him at 7 weeks old, and he was only 7.4 pounds.
  2. He is now 11 weeks old, and weighs 12.2 pounds.
  3. He is 1 foot tall. 20 inches long. His tail is 8.5 inches long.
  4. He has over the month gotten more and more spots. (pics below)
  5. His spots were black, but have now turned brindle in color.
  6. His coat is very white, and the hair on his back is getting longer.
  7. His paws have definitely gotten bigger.
  8. He has light brown eyes.
  9. He is incredibly smart – knows how to sit, shake, and ring bells to go outside and potty.
  10. Although he is only almost 3 months, he can hold his bladder for up to 5 hours if necessary and sleeps through the night very well.

Luke 2 5-week-old Luke.

IMG_5146 7 Weeks Old, first day we had him!

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IMG_5179 No spots on his back at 7 Weeks.

IMG_5182 Husband holds 7-week-old Luke.

IMG_5204 Sleepy 8-week-old Luke.

IMG_5240 8 Weeks Old.

IMG_5279 8-week-old Face.

IMG_5282 8-week-old sleepy Luke!

IMG_5291 8-week-old Luke compared to Leia.

IMG_5360 IMG_5362  9-week-old Luke! IMG_5585 9-week-old Luke next to sister Leia!

IMG_5657 10-week-old Luke compared to a laundry basket.

IMG_5677 Husband holds 10-week-old Luke.

IMG_5688 Sleepy still at 11 Weeks.

IMG_5708 11-week-old Luke with Leia.

IMG_5717 11-week-old Luke Smiles!

We will receive the results of the DNA test in 2 weeks time, so this contest is open until October 4th, when I will close the contest and announce the results the next day!

I know I am incredibly excited, and hope you guys are too!

Meal Prep.

Many people have asked, so I am glad to share! Meal prep has been going strong in our house for over a month straight now. It has not only saved us money, but helped us with portion control and healthy choices.

Who am I to deny myself AMAZING tacos for lunch every day, especially since I work on taco street now…

Food Truck Tacos

Or a beautiful frozen pizza for dinner. It is just so easy to do while I need to do a million things…

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I am certainly not perfect. But I am also not made of money and time. So something had to give.

Meal prep came from the inspiration that I could eat awesome healthy lunches, and still make things for dinners all on Sunday afternoon. I had no idea how much more life enriching it can be. I have tried it a bunch of different ways the past 5 weeks, all with varying levels of difficulty.

Breakfast –

Smoothies and Sandwiches! I was SICK AND TIRED of strawberries and blackberries, bananas, and pineapples just rotting in my fridge. I never had time to just cut them up before blending. So I decided I would put them in a baggy, divided up already. Just add coconut milk and honey before blending! Husband and I have different smoothie preferences so it goes as follows –

Me –

  • 1 regular pack of fresh strawberries
  • 5 fresh bananas
  • coconut milk
  • local honey
  • drop of vanilla for taste
  • protein powder as desired

Husband –

  • 1 regular pack of fresh blackberries
  • 5 fresh bananas
  • 1 small pineapple or pre cut // either way works.
  • coconut milk
  • local honey
  • drop of vanilla for taste
  • protein powder as desired

These are dairy free and require no ice, because you just stick the fruit divided up into 5 bags in the freezer. The frozen fruit is enough to make the smoothie texture. They really work in getting us daily nutrients.

Breakfast

Breakfast 2

Breakfast sandwiches are more time consuming, but I have done them different ways.

Ingredients –

  • 8 count of biscuits or whole wheat english muffins
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 pack of pre-cooked Jimmy Dean chicken, pork, or turkey sausage patties
  • 8 slices of jalapeño or pepper jack cheese

Easy way out is to toast all the english muffins, add cheese and sausage, and scramble eggs to mush on the muffin, close it up, put it in a sandwich baggy and close it up. I like the other method of having to bake the biscuits and cook the eggs over medium. These freeze perfectly. To warm up, just microwave for 1.5 minutes wrapped in a paper towel.

Lunch –

So as we discussed before, Husband doesn’t touch anything, green. Ever. Which means, I have to customize our lunches. It is a little extra work for me, but I appreciate making lunches we both will eat. Here is what I have tried so far –

  • grilled chicken breasts
  • grilled pork tenderloin
  • green beans
  • broccoli and cauliflower
  • sweet potatoes
  • potato wedges
  • mac and cheese
  • rice

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My first #MealPrepSunday was about 4 hours of non stop on my feet cooking. I grilled 8 chicken breasts, hand peeled and boiled 4 sweet potatoes, and hand cut and steamed a head of cauliflower and broccoli. Husband ended up with a single breast, baked beans, and sweet potato in his lunch. I had that plus my cauli/broc mix. It was WAY too much. Repeat. I can’t eat that much in one meal.

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Chicken

Grilling

I revamped next week to make it a little easier, see if it could take me less time. I still grilled 8 chicken breasts, but cut 2 into 4, those were my 4. (much better portion for me.) We had two left over we ate for dinner that night! I bought a can of green beans, threw some onion on top for flavor, and a can of sweet potato. I can definitely just microwave a sweet potato and get the same effect, but much more fresh. That is what I will do from now on.

Meal Prepping

Meals

This week I got a little lazy, and added mac and cheese to the mix. I know, so not “good for you”, but whatever. It’s amazing. Plus, I think I can’t eat totally healthy every single day of every single week. Next week, I will do brown rice instead.

mac and cheese

I have gotten the average price per meal down to under $2. DID YOU HEAR ME?! $2 for a full delicious breakfast and lunch!! AMAZING!! Also, the portion control is the biggest thing. Its not just fast and easy to grab a great lunch, but its a good portion of food to leave you feeling full, but not falling asleep at your desk from eating too much. These meals have been life saving.

Now, that definitely doesn’t stop me from occasionally stopping by Gordough’s for a naughty donut…

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Or finishing my dinner with a treat…

Blue Bell

But most of all, its something Husband and I can do together. We work as a team getting all the tupperware together, shopping, grilling, and cooking sides. I love this time I get to spend with him being productive! So many people spend the whole day on Sunday prepping and getting crazy. It is up to you how crazy you want to make it. You best believe come fall, I will be crockpotting more meals for the week. These few hours on a Sunday has saved us so much more time here and there that adds up. We get that quality time and get to do something together we both are passionate about!

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I am not trying to sell you on meal prep. Its up to you whether or not you want to make your life easier or not. 😉 I just never thought I could, but now, we can’t not! Happy Meal Prep! And if you are a meal prepper that has some great easy additions to your lunches, throw those up in the comments! I would love to keep adding to it!

Happy prepping preppers!

Growing.

When we got our little Princess Leia, she wasn’t really so little. She was 5 months old, and only 5 pounds from being fully grown.

Leia's First Day

We have always been a little sad we didn’t get to do the whole “puppy thing”, although I have always thought I think I can’t. Leia came to us potty trained, and very obedient as it were. We didn’t have to do much with her, except get to know her schedule and let her get to know us. That was easy. Puppies are not. We know how hard puppies are. Everyone keeps reminding us how demanding they are, like we didn’t know that and will suddenly change our minds. Or they will subtly remind us of how much sleep we are going to miss out on, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what other people think, which I know I put too much effort into caring a lot of times. So, late last year, around December, Husband and I decided we wanted a second puppy. Leia was getting older, and we were getting more boring. We wanted her to have a brother or sister to hang out with and play with. So often, I see families with two dogs, and they are inseparable. This is what we wanted for Leia, but also for us!

We sought out different Shiba breeders this time given the horrible experience we had with Leia’s breeder. Finally, putting down a deposit with a Shiba Inu breeder very close to us in early March. The litter was expected for September, and ready to pick up by November. We were going to get a black and tan Shiba this time, and a boy of course! Leia needs a brother to boss around.

In Late July, when the dam was supposed to be in heat, I inquired about how she was doing and how on time the breeder thought the process was – which turned out to be a mistake. Breeders are like crazy cat ladies, only worse. My common customer inquiry I am sure, really upset her, so much so that she just mailed us our deposit back with no explanation. We were a little in shock. Having waited over 5 months to hear news regarding the process, and just wanting to be involved in our new little pups life from the beginning, I was certainly upset. It didn’t just affect Husband and I either. Friends of ours who were also getting a puppy from this breeder were sent back their deposit because they were associated with us. The fallout was quite a bit more intense than I had anticipated.

The vacuum left was heartbreaking. We were very much looking forward to getting another dog, and now the search had to start all over. Even people with other Shibas didn’t have nice things to say about the breeders they got their dogs from. There is a decent kennel in Oklahoma, but they are not bred for their temperament at that facility, and we wanted a Shiba that would match Leia’s calm demeanor. I was done with breeders. I tried to convince myself we were just meant to be a one dog family. But then, of course, Husband and I start poking around on the internet.

To flashback, Husband and I had much difficulty finding the perfect dog for us the first time. We lived in an apartment with lots of breed restrictions, so we had very little luck at animal shelters, and the ones we did like, ended up having medical problems we weren’t able to manage. Well, fast forward to last week, where Husband and I are trolling animal shelters again, in hopes of finding a tiny puppy to rescue. Sure enough.

Little Bear, born into Austin Pets Alive! was available, and didn’t have anyone interested in him yet. We went to see him that day. And knew when we saw him how much we already loved him.

Luke 1

Luke 2

How can you not love that tiny face?! He was just waiting to find a forever home to love him. Weighing in at just under 5 pounds, no one really has any idea what he is, but the best guess is a Boston Terrier mix. He turned 8 weeks old today, when we got to pick him up!

We are so proud to be rescue parents and have the love of a purebred dog as well. Of course, even though Bear was a perfect name, since it was a B, and we already have an L, Princess Leia can only work if her brother’s name is Luke!

We worked hard over the weekend to get his little part of our home set up. Leia certainly knows something is different. She keeps going in his crate and laying down. She also kept eye-balling me as I was unpacking a lot of his puppy chews that she recognized from when she was a puppy, and was a little disappointed when I didn’t give them to her. She has been watching the door more lately too.

Waiting For Luke!

The introduction couldn’t have gone better! Leia is a natural lover, so she was so sweet to him and loving! They got their sniffs out, although not much playing could be done since he just had his little surgery today. But he couldn’t be more sweet! He just wants to cuddle and nap in your lap. We can’t put him down presently!

Bringing Luke Home

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So welcome to our family little Luke! We are happy to have you! We will love you and take care of you! Leia will show you the ropes and play with you for the rest of your sweet little lives. We are so thankful you came into our lives and changed us! Husband, myself, Luke, and Leia! Such a perfect little ring to it!

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And even though I don’t think I can wake up every 4 hours to let you go to the bathroom, and I don’t think I am sure how to even start training a puppy, and you are so tiny and I don’t even know if the collar we got for you will fit, I will love you so much!

Update.

Hello world. Long time no talk!

I know I left you on a cliff hanger, so for that I apologize. But let me catch you up on what I have been up to!

#1. We are obviously not homeless. We found a super house to rent, right next husband’s office, so he can walk to work and come home on his lunch breaks. He likes that a lot. So does Leia! Did I mention our new house is only 4 doors down from some of our best friends? I know. Cool right?

New House

#2. I got a new job! I am no longer working from home! I started working for a small company, but they are way far down south Austin, so I have been listening to podcasts. Favorites so far include This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, How To Do Everything, Ask Me Another, and Internet Explorer. These are my new obsessions as I spend a little over 10 hours a week in traffic.

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#3. I am totally a yogi now. I have been doing yoga for three months now and feeling better than ever. I stuck to the water thing for the most part too. I am down 15 pounds! I am lucky I go to yoga with my best friends so I have some accountability.

Post Yoga Jamba

#4. I have thrown lots of parties at this new house. I knew I loved being a hostess before, but now that i can reasonable fit 20 people in one house / backyard, everything has changed. We have had Memorial Day, 4th of July, and random dinner parties and game nights at the house, all with huge success. So stay tuned for more Fall themed parties coming soon.

forth party

#5. I have an empty spare bedroom now, since I don’t need a home office anymore. So I would love to hear everyone thoughts on what to make of it. I would like to have it be a guest room, but how can I make it cute and useful too? It is only like, 10 feet by /maybe/ 9 feet. It is tiny. Very tiny. Let me hear your thoughts.

#6. Husband and I have both been having a fruit smoothie with protein powder in it every morning. It really is great fuel to last through lunch. I do his with blackberries, pineapple, and banana. Mine has strawberries and banana. I am a simple girl. I told you all. Both are mixed with chocolate whey protein powder, a cup of coconut milk to be non-dairy, local honey to help with allergies, and a little drop of vanilla for a sweet taste!

SMOOTHIE

#7. I made a surprise trip to NC to see the family and visit with my mom and baby sisters in-bwtween jobs. It was such a great trip and good time spent with the girls. They are a handful now. Both are walking, talking, getting into the trash can, standing on the coffee tables. You know. The standard toddler stuff.

Toddler Stuff

#8. This one is a surprise in next weeks PROMISED post for you. This is a real cliff hanger because it is a real life changer too! I know you all will be excited for us to share the news!

So stay tuned for more in-depth post about the things I thought I couldn’t do, but so far haven’t been failing too hard at.

Etsy Shop.

They say you should put a shameless plug about your Etsy shop, if you have one, in basically everything you put on the internet. Problem is, I am weird about selling myself. Most people don’t even know I have a shop or a blog because I just don’t advertise myself as much as is recommended. I just don’t think its cool to always be gloating around this and that about what you sell. I am afraid to turn my friends and family into my income.

Instead, I have humbly gone about my Etsy shop business (see what I did there?) and let those who wanted to, come to me! I don’t do my Etsy shop full time, though isn’t it every girls dream to make her arts and crafts her life’s work? I still have my day job, but think it would be rad to be working only my shop at some point in my life. I truly and genuinely LOVE working with my hands to create beautiful things. So I make handmade garlands and banners, and have recently dipped into the tutu world. I started out making lit garlands, and then moved to non lit as well. They have been used for crib banners, holiday decor, bedroom decor, Relay for Life tent decor, birthday decor, and so much more! I love getting pics of how my handmade goods have enriched an event or a home.

Perfect Photo Prop

High Chair Birthday Decor

Holiday Decor

My Personal Christmas Decor

I was thinking of having a Christmas in July sale and doing preorders for holiday garlands and banners. Would love to have some input on that. The tutu addition to my shop was a long time coming. My family and friends encouraged me (more like begged me) to make some for things like birthday partied, costumes, and even one offered up that I should make an adult tutu for marathon runners, like the Color Run and the Zombie Runs. I love the idea and will definitely be expanding on it ASAP. I made my first two tutus the other night while watching Grey’s Anatomy. It was definitely more fun than making the garlands – a lot less work has to go into them. I decided to go the no sew route since there is room for error in that method. Not so much with stitching. So I am happy with the different variations my shop has come to have, and excited to add more!

TinkerBell Tutu

Frozen Tutu

Birthday Party Banner

Relay For Life Lit Garland

Christmas Garland

Bedroom Decor Garland

I struggle a lot with worrying that since I am not a professional photographer or graphics designer, that my shop according to its looks doesn’t even compare to other shops. Husband always tells me not to compare. But it is really hard not to. I don’t have a fancy white back drop full of natural lighting to take my pictures in front of. I don’t even know any little girl younger than 21 in the entire Austin area, so I certainly don’t have a model. I asked Husband the other day if it would be weird to take my tutus and camera to a park and ask random kids on the playground to be my models. He recommended not doing that so I don’t get arrested. So my photos are what they are. But I love shooting the super up close pics to really show the detail I put into my work.

Christmas Close Up

Bedroom Garland Lit Close Up

Purple Relay For Life Close Up

Blue Tutu Close Up

I am pretty sure I am as regular as it gets when it comes to having my own Etsy shop. I have gone through all the same emotions as anyone else starting out I hope, although I haven’t confirmed. I have wanted to give up on it a bunch. I have been told awful stories of other peoples attempts at failed shops. I have been discouraged and lazy even at times. It is a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice to get to where you can just fly solo with an online shop. The best case story I have heard is a woman who made her shop her full time job in exactly a year. That would be so wonderful if it really happened, but right now, I am loving the little sales I get here and there, and the little impact it is in peoples lives. I get my strength from Husband, who was the reason I started the shop. He encouraged me to make something I love and make it more than a hobby. He has been right by my side while I was having crying melt downs in fabric stores. He has given me advice on finances. He has even stood there with me while it took over an hour to get all the fabric I needed once cut. The ladies at my local craft store ask about him if he isn’t there with me. He is my logistics guy and I couldn’t be more grateful for his love and support.

Here is my humble, normal, average, not exciting, but labor of love shop that I just want you, the internet, to take a look. Sometimes we just want to be told, “Hey! Looks like you are on to something really great there!” (And if this even gets one sale from the post, I may be more happy than a blog post could express.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TulleAndSwag

Death.

I am back from an almost 2 week hiatus from my blog. Almost 3 weeks ago now, I was notified that my granddad had another stroke, but this time it was really bad. He was moved to hospice care, where he spent 11 of the best last days anyone could have. I was on standby for almost a week, before I couldn’t take it anymore.

If I haven’t mentioned how amazing Husband is by now, this would be a good point to insert that in. Husband loaded everything in his brand new 4Runner, puppy princess included, and we just drove. And we drove and drove and drove. I don’t have a good concept of space when it comes to reading a map, but North Carolina looks a lot closer to Austin, Texas on a map, than it is actually driving it. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that my dog is so spoiled she doesn’t know how to relieve herself on a leash, and held it for almost 24 hours… So anyways, we made it in 2 days, around 10:30pm EST.

** EST sucks BTW **

After unloading the car, my mom and I went straight to the hospice, getting there around midnight and not leaving until 4am. My granddad told the nurses the next day that we gave him a party. See, he couldn’t talk really, or move, or swallow, but he could blink, and smile, and raise his eye brows and furrow his brow, and tap his left big toe to old gospel music to let us know he was still in there.

** When asked if I was his favorite, he gave me a wink and a big smile. 😉 **

Just to hold his hand one last time was worth it. He took his last breaths with his wife, daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter all holding hands around him; Husband was there for moral support, but I saw him shed a tear or two. Most told me to not be there, that it was too grim to see, or hear. But it wasn’t that way for me. It was so obvious that suddenly he was no longer in his body. It was a beautiful and relaxing moment knowing there was no more pain or physical restraints.

Under the Carolina Blue Sky

Viewing

He had a glorious military funeral, where I kept it together until they played the taps. And the military men and women there saluted the casket. And two of those men folded up the flag and presented it to my grandmother, tearily thanking her for his service. It was beyond perfect.

Preparing the Flag

Presenting the Flag

Folding the Flag

Duty Honor Country

My grandmothers eulogy about her dad, my granddad, was so beautiful, I had to ask her permission to share it with you all. If you wanted to know just a glimpse of my granddad as a person, this was him:

Meeting each other while working at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Dallas was a Divine Appointment for my parents. The first time he asked her for a date she said, “No”. But Dad began to pursue her with that God given spiritual gift of friendship and she finally agreed to go out with him on their first date, another Divine Appointment, on October 10th and they got married less than a month later on November 12th in 1947. Two days after that first date…another Divine Appointment…he invited her to go to church and then after church to meet his parents and have Sunday dinner with them.
 
My dad was born and raised in the very small town of Josephine, TX. It only had two churches, one Baptist and one Methodist. Both churches were too small to have a full time pastor so one Sunday God’s church in Josephine would worship in the Baptist church and the next Sunday they would worship in the Methodist church. My dad’s family were Methodist and his parents had had him baptized as an infant with water from the River Jordan but My mother was raised in the Baptist church near Abilene, TX which was over 200 miles from Josephine. When they arrived at her Baptist Church my mom had been attending on Sundays, my dad discovered that her pastor had been his Baptist pastor every other Sunday for years back home in Josephine.
 
A Divine Appointment is ‘a meeting’ which was inspired and God led. God is sovereign; He is all knowing and all-powerful. Every person here experienced a Divine Appointment when they met my dad. His spiritual gifts of friendship, mercy and compassion touched all of our lives in such a special way. The gift of compassion moves people to action on behalf of those in need. Compassion is not a simple caring about others, but such a radical caring that we have no choice but to make sacrifices for others. Those with the gift of compassion rarely ask “Should I help,” but instead focus on how to help. Compassion makes us fundamentally aware of Christ in others and springs from our desire to care for all of God’s creatures and creation. The possibilities of Divine Appointments are endless! If we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, great things are possible. 
 
My dad had great love and compassion for the Lord his God, his family, his friends, strangers that God placed in his path, and this nation that he was willing to give his life for through his service. Throughout the Bible there are many examples of Divine Appointments. Time after time God leads the faithful to cross another person’s path and great things happen! When we walk in the Spirit God can and does do the impossible and the unexpected.
 
I had just finished reading the 23rd Psalm to Dad last Thursday morning when he experienced his final Divine Appointment here on this earth when suddenly he opened his eyes and looked up as his precious Lord took him to his eternal home. In the Book of Revelation Chapter 4, Verse 1 the Apostle John tells us: “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said. “Come up here”…