Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Cara Box

Cara Box

I stumbled upon the Cara Box exchange last month and thought it'd be something fun to try myself. I love sending and receiving things in the mail, and this gave me some structure to do so. The way these work is you sign up, then are paired off with two other blogger ladies--one which you send a box to, and one that will send you a box! There's a $ limit, and a timeframe to work with, and you of course have the other's blog and email address to get some ideas for what to fill the box with. One main aspect of the Cara Box is that you include a letter of encouragement to the woman receiving. This made such a difference in the sending and receiving, it made it so much more personal. There's also a theme --this month's was resolutions. I'm not sure how closely I stuck to the theme for the box I sent out, but I think it worked out.

My match that I assembled a Cara Box for was Jasmyne of A Fisher's Wife. You can see her post about what I sent her here. I had fun finding different sorts of goodies for her as well as being able to add my personal touch with adding notes and ideas into one of the items, as well as making her something myself!

Now, for my Cara Box's reveal! I was paired with Joni from Blended with Love.

So thoughtful! The organizer is for my resolution/goal to keep my life more organized this year; the coasters and wine stopper are to support my entertaining endeavors, mainly through my side project, ATE Rochester. And, if you know me at all, you know I can never have enough blank notecards around! I love sending messages in the mail, and with such a pretty pattern I'm sure I'll get through these quite quickly! Then, of course the spatula is to support my baking habit (also resolved to bake more bread... which I've modified to just more baking...things!), and sweet smelling candle to round it all out. Thanks SO much, Joni! The Cara Box exchange was a great experience, and now that I've got one under my belt, I'm thinking I'll participate in future exchanges as well!

Make sure to check out ALL of the January Cara Box exchanges, posted through Wifessionals.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dresolutions #3

One of my goals/resolutions for 2013 was to wear more dresses. I'll let that include skirts, and aiming for one per week. This is my third #dresolution this year. I'm not afraid of being a little matchy-matchy when it comes to color--I was pretty excited this morning when I realized that I had a shirt to match these tights. Though, throwing in a deep plum skirt (hard to see in photos I realize) helps mix it up a little from just blacks and grays. 

This is a favorite necklace of mine, picked up this past Summer from The Knotty Owl. I love the colors she uses and the different types of wood. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Instagrid January 1 - 23

  1. Progress.
  2. Snagged some history with a set of 4 original seats from the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House
  3. Stumbled upon Zulily around the 1st of the year and snagged quite a deal on a new coat (arriving soon?  Just arrived!)
  4. Got a delightful blog feature/interview via Homegrown Joy for my Etsy shop
  5. Hangin' out with my cockatiel darlings
  6. Added a new stamp design to my Etsy shop
  7. Holiday giftcards helped me get a fancypants food processor
  8. Reading Happiness at Home, snuggling with the puppy
  9. Made some delicious Rootbeer Brisket in the slow cooker
  10. My stamps were featured/reviewed on Sometimes Sweet! Thanks Dani <3
  11. Pups loves the couch
  12. Puppy graduated from AKC Star Puppy Class!
  13. A very tired Remi after her first day at Doggy Daycare
  14. The Pitas from Aladdins are MONSTERS and oh so tasty! 
  15. It sure has been wintery this month. And even colder than this!
  16. #dresolutions  #1 - One of my resolutions/goals for 2013 is to wear more dresses! This was from the week of January 6
  17. Puppy met a 7 month old Boxer friend at Saturday playtime
  18. Pat is awesome. He visited. We went to brunch!
  19. My new coat from Zulily! Diggin' it.
  20. New dress also from Zulily -- this one makes me want to dance Balboa. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


Looking forward to:

Seeing Miracle of 86 next weekend. One of the bands that I unfortunately really got in to only after their breakup. I've been following Kevin Devine's music ever since, and had asked him at a solo acoustic show in Nashville when the Miracle of 86 reunion would be. His answer? "When someone dies"... that didn't leave me with much hope.
This mini-reunion/Sandy relief show was plenty enough reason for me to plan a sporadic short weekend to NYC. I'm very excited to take the train in to the city as well--much better than driving and hopefully less stressful than flying.


Emily Owens, MD: Of course I find out about this show only after it's been cancelled. I'd say 90%+ of my TV viewing takes place via Hulu+ or Netflix, and this was a find out of browsing for some background entertainment while doing some work at home. I love the characters, and am definitely going to be sad when this season ends.

Mad Men: This has been another show that I've been watching as background entertainment while working on stamps for my etsy shop. The advertising/agency side is overly interesting to me (professional casualty, right?), and I've started to enjoy the personal interactions more too. In the first season, it felt pretty much like a chronicle of affairs, and a bit predictable at that so not exactly uplifting storylines, but I've come to appreciate the rest more now too. It's nice to know that I have quite a few seasons left in front of me, I hate getting to the end of a show with no resolution or that was cancelled awfully prematurely (cough*Dollhouse*cough*Firefly*cough*VeronicaMars*cough).


Flavored (not sweetened) seltzer. I've been trying to keep up on liquid intake, and the tap water at work tastes kind of nasty, and the brita we have there is equally yuck. Though, I still feel silly bringing in bottled water--so, enter seltzer. I get bubbles, a hint of flavor and no yucky water taste. WIN!


The first ever ATE dinner series. Basic idea is 8 people, 8PM, 8th of the month -- gathered together for a (homecooked) meal, and the eight people don't know most of the rest of the guests. I've been stewing over the idea of this sort of thing for a long while (dinner party meets social experiment) and decided to try to get it rolling. So far I think there's been enough interest for at least two, if not three, months worth of dinners!


Happier at Home, by Gretchen Rubin. I had seen this pop up around and decided to give it a shot even though I have not yet read the Happiness Project. I dig it, and I'm definitely planning on reading the Happiness Project later this year. Oh, at feel free to follow me on Good Reads! I use it mostly to keep track of what I'd like to read, but it's fun to see reviews by friends too!


In general over the lack of time I seem to have, especially concerning my house. I've been a homeowner for well over a year now, and some projects just have not moved an inch forward in at least a year. I've got a lot of organizing and purging to do as well, nevermind just the upkeep tasks. If only there were more hours in the day...

Currently post format via Sometimes Sweet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A New Found Love for Spreadsheets; or, How I'm Attempting to Keep Everything Straight as Well as Seem Like a Game

As a Graphic Designer, I'm at a computer all day doing work. Though, the majority of time is spent in InDesign, and then Illustrator, PhotoShop, and of course Outlook (ugh). I've got very little use for the typical Office Suite software, and at home I use (in addition to the above Adobe programs) a combination of Google everything, and just Text Edit to take care of business. I've recently been utilizing the spreadsheets from GoogleDrive (formerly GoogleDocs, which is still how I refer to it in my head) like crazy.
Spreadsheet Color-coded

Once sales from my Etsy shop started taking off, I moved from doing math on paper to starting a spreadsheet with formulas to keep track of orders and costs as well as timelines. This has seriously been a blessing for me, as I've well surpassed the 100 stamps mark. I don't know how I could have kept track of it without the spreadsheet. I've also got it set up to keep track of margin percentage as well as running totals, which are great motivators for me to keep investing time in to my stamps. I may have gotten somewhat carried away with the color coding too.

Perhaps little known fact, I'm a co-coordinator for the SPARK Mentorship program through the Upstate NY Chapter of AIGA. I wrangled the applications coming in, and yes, there was a big 'ol spreadsheet for that too, very very color coded. Being a visual person, I've found having some sort of obvious clue to the grouping of information (such as color) can make much easier to make sense of mountains of data.

Even further, I'm using spreadsheets to keep track of my resolutions/goals for 2013 as a whole, and then a few more specifically too (such as miles walked).

Strange, but even as recently as a year ago, I've have never thought I'd be spending significant time punching numbers in to a spreadsheet--that's what other people do. Other people in boring, soul-sucking jobs. What skills that you learned in high school do you find have come in handy more than you'd ever have imagined?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Resolution Roll Call 2013

To start a new year with 100 resolutions or goals is perhaps a bit bold. I figured that presented with a buffet of things I could work on throughout the year, I'd be able to knock things off the list, and hopefully make some good habits along the way, without the worry of breaking a streak or missing on perfection. 100 action items, and heck, if I can make a dent on 10 of them each month, that puts me in a good place number-wise.

Without futher ado, my list of 100* (*note, I haven't yet put 100 things on here--currently 84ish. Like anything, when I'm racking my brain to think of things, I blank; but when I'm in the middle of something totally irrelevant, I think of more).

I'm attempting to organize these in to categories or themes (most were jotted down quickly in random places), so bear with me and the inconsistent grammar.

Bettering Me (Health, self-image, stress)

  1. dance at least 1x/wk
  2. cook 3+ dinners/week
  3. better bedtimes/sleep (11p on worknights, flexible on wknds—oh hey, there’s an app for that!)
  4. be ready the night before (work lunches and outfits set before bed)
  5. be on time (ugh, this is a huge one for me. hardest part is I don’t care about being _precisely_ on time for things, but the rest of the world does…)
  6. run semi-regularly
  7. run a 5k
  8. Walk 500 miles
  9. Walk 500 more… (thinking of getting a fitbit or similar, or just using an app to track?  Suggestions taken… I expect the puppy to help me out with this especially as the weather improves.)
  10. lose about 15 more pounds
  11. KEEP OFF the above 15 lbs and the 20 lbs lost in 2012.
  12. Break out of loops!
  13. play some basketball — find a league or something casual
  14. 2 hits at most of the snooze button allowed daily
  15. Wear more dresses (1x/week?)
  16. get less distracted
  17. relax more
  18. wear my nightguard so i don’t grind my teeth down to nothing
  19. Get my birdie tattoos finished
  20. get my rowhouse tattoo
  21. get a new non-primary Doctors in my health system (Switching jobs/insurance makes for tons of phone calls, ugh)
  22. figure out some personality stuff
  23. bake bread
  24. stay more hydrated
  25. paint my nails and maintain (not a week of chipped)
  26. get a manicure (suggestions for where to in/near Roc?!)
  27. get a pedicure (omg never have. suggestions where to in/near Roc, & someone to join?)

Financial (Being a grown-up with my $)

  1. Pay down credit cards…
  2. Pay off more of my car (extra $30-100/mo. for the year)
  3. Open a ‘hidden’ emergency account that I really do not touch
  4. Have two months of funds in said account by end of the year
  5. make a budget and stick to it COLD TURKEY

Enlightenment (Media, Music, Reading, and enrichment)

  1. write a song journal (playlist already set)
  2. read 1 book/month
  3. take more photos on purpose (try a 365 again? maybe.)
  4. go to more shows (1x/month?)
  5. See Lord of the Rings (1st one) ALL THE WAY THROUGH, NO NAPPING
  6. See Lord of the Rings (2nd one) ALL THE WAY THROUGH, NO NAPPING
  7. See Lord of the Rings (3rd one) ALL THE WAY THROUGH, NO NAPPING
  8. Listen to more podcasts (1/work day)


  1. install CS6 (what have I been waiting for? :I )
  2. print some
  3. bind some
  4. dig in to more web/ux/ui/wordpress/webwhatever design stuff… 3 hrs/month
  5. get a laptop ($$$$$$$$$$$)
  6. expand my etsy shop & build on the success ( )
  7. learn more about letters (general)
  8. take calligraphy class
  9. make a typeface
  10. organize my twitter in to lists to be more useful (friends/design/ROC/etc.)
  11. schedule out etsy promotion (blog features, giveaways etc.)
  12. get my etsy sales to average 6 per day, up from the current of 2 per day
  13. reply to messages & emails right away
  14. Scour pinterest weekly (inspiration, organization, recipes)
  15. Do my postcard project

Social (less being a hermit)

  1. be more social (at least 1 purely social encounter per week, whether over beer/coffee, or phone/skype/hangouts)
  2. reconnect with distant friends (1/month?)
  3. get ATEs rolling (
  4. send nice things in the mail

Out & About (Travel, going places, doing things)

  1. volunteer
  2. go bowling (use up L&M card!)
  3. go to more baseball games than 2012
  4. Pay Philadelphia a visit
  5. go to more hockey games than 2012 
  6. Visit Nashville - and sister&bro-in-law&pups
  7. Cleveland visit
  8. spend more time in coffee shops

Home, Place, and Possessions 

  1. purge “stuff” (at least 1 trash bag/month of things that can go—trash, donated, traded, whatever).
  2. paint my dining room
  3. paint the drying rack in my laundry room
  4. paint the laundry room
  5. get a better floor for the laundry room
  6. organize & maintain: kitchen
  7. organize & maintain: dining room
  8. organize & maintain: book nook
  9. organize & maintain: bedroom&closet
  10. organize & maintain: living room
  11. organize & maintain: backroom/office
  12. organize & maintain: porch
  13. enjoy my porch
  14. 24 hr rule on dirty dishes in the sink
  15. go through all my mail
  16. SAVE things less -- use as soon as makes sense to, and replenish when needed
  17. get a chore/household duty system in place 

I plan to make updates as to how these are going throughout the year, perhaps a few times per month. I am currently accepting any and all forms of encouragement, and of course suggestions are welcome too! Want to join me for any of these things? Leave a note in the comments or shoot me a tweet!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year, New Blog

Goofing off at a Wedding this past Fall

A short intro to this here blog. I've had numerous blogs over the years, starting back in livejournal days, and carrying through to my current tumblr. While I still have the tumblr, it's become more of a curation of things rather than personal reflection by means of words. It'll still be there, and images, songs, and reblogs will still be added, but here is where I'll be writing my story. Come read along, I'd love to have you!
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