Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: Old Navy Sweater Review

You know a few months back when I talked about how my favorite sweater had got a hole in it and how sad I was to see it go? I loved it's half-sleeve length, it's neutral color, and weight. I was so sad to see it go! I turned it into a lovely pillow, but there was a space missing in my wardrobe that needed to be filled.

Thankfully shortly after retiring my sweater I was offered a wonderful opportunity from Crowdtap and Old Navy. They offered me and a friend a free sweater just to review it for them! I was thrilled to be chosen for it! I love sweaters, but I am so picky, so to be able to choose any sweater in the store no matter the price was awesome.

I rounded up a friend of mine and we headed out to the nearest Old Navy. We were impressed by their selection of wool coats the second we walked through the door, and wished we had the money to get a few! SO CUTE! We bypassed them as quickly as possibly and headed to the sweater section. The fun was about to begin!

The selection was pretty big, though I didn't see a few of the ones I had been swooning over online. We spent a few minutes combing the racks, picking out sweaters to try on. We ended up with about four each to try on.

A few of my selections:

 A few of Toni's Selections:

Toni's Favorite!
Torn Between the grey or the cream...
 Once we had made some selections we headed straight to the dressing rooms. I love how the new store design puts them right in the center of the stores! Makes it even easier to go grab more to try on. We each tried on our sweaters, coming out to model them for each other as we went. Soon it was down to a few favorites each. Toni Loved the cardigans, and was torn between the creamish shimmery one she went with, and a really soft black one. I was torn between one of two cowl neck sweaters. I loved the length, style, and sleeves on it, just wasn't sure if I wanted to go for the cream or the grey.

We contemplated our choices as we checked out their jewelry and accessories! I was so impressed by the quantity and price of all of it. i loved that they sorted it by color so you could quickly find just the right accessories for your outfit! I hope they do an accessory sample and share in the future!

Once we had decided on our selection we went to check out. The process was easy and all the ladies were asking about crowdtap! Who doesn't love sweaters? Especially when they are free!

Me being sassy in my fabulous sweater! LOL!
I ultimately chose the grey sweater. I love it and have worn it many times already, to great reviews. It is soft, has a beautiful chunky pattern, a lovely color, and has the half sleeves that I so loved in my last sweater! I wish I could go back and purchase it in every color! it is fantastic, and well worth the price! I know I will get a ton of wear out of it!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to try out Old Navy's sweaters and I can't wait to do more sample and shares in the future!

Bonus: Old Navy is having a sale on all their sweaters this weekend! Go check it out and grab some for yourself! You won't regret it!

Old Navy Sweater Sale!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cinderella is Back from the Ball!

So I haven't posted in almost a week, and I have so much I should have been posting! I've got my December Daily stuff that needs to get posted, an Old Navy Sweater Review post, A tour of my house all Christmasified, my 12 days of Christmas countdown calendar, crafty stuff for the cookie party that is on Wednesday, and the Smash Ball I went to Saturday! So much goodness to go over, but I think I will have to start with the Smashball!

So here is what the Smashball is. Basically a bunch of wonderful ladies get together with their Smashbooks (which you can purchase all over the place, even on Amazon!) and have access to a HUGE array of scrapbooking products to smash to their hearts content!

I had seen the original Smashball on the fabulous Becki's blog Whippy Cake and had been so disappointed to find it was in Arizona, far far away. :( It sounded like such a fabulous event that I couldn't help but want to attend. I stored it away, and pouted a little to my husband about how much I wanted to go.

Well, long story short, a few months later I learned that Becki was bringing the Smashing fun to Utah!!!! She was having a giveaway for a ticket, and I jumped right on that, knowing that the $70 ticket was a little more than I could afford to spend right now. Unfortunately I didn't win a ticket, and I was so bummed. :( How was I going to go to the Ball without a ticket? Sad face ensued, and a few days of moping around sad that I would not be going to this fabulous event I had been dreaming about. :(

So Friday rolls around (the day before the Smashball), and I get an E-mail from Becki with a special promo code for a discounted ticket to the "Ball". With the ticket now only $50 it is suddenly in my price range to attend, since my birthday is next week, and my husband had not yet purchased a gift. So I got the okay from him, and started looking into how I would get there, and how I would get home. 2.5 hours on the bus would get me there on time, but I would have to leave at seven to get home by the same route, cutting my fun time down by 4 HOURS! So I got on facebook, posted a plea on Whippy Cake's facebook page and soon found someone else who was going that was willing to drive me home! So I bought a ticket an was off on my adventure!

My hubby had to work that morning, so I met him at the Trax station by his work with the boys. I then went and hopped on the new South Frontrunner. They were having a free day, so I got all the way from Murray to Provo for just a can of food! Of course I had to stand all the way there (about an hour and 15 minutes altogether) and my back was starting to kill by the time I got down there, but it was well worth the savings! The train was much roomier than I would have thought, and had it not been a free day I think I would have had a much better experience on my ride. It was fun to take Frontrunner for the first time, and my boys wish they had come too!

I got off the Train in Provo, asked someone which way University Avenue was and began walking the mile to the venue... silly me somehow got turned around though, and I ended up walking nearly a mile in the WRONG DIRECTION. When I finally figured it out I had a mini panic attack! Here I was in a city I hardly knew, lost... I then remembered that I am now the owner of a smart phone, and I typed the address into google maps and the wonderful GPS led me all the way back, past the train station, over the overpass, and straight to center street. I sighed in relief as I saw the Temple construction site.

I had a little time to kill, so I walked around for a bit, taking in center street, and then was drawn into the Indian Food place India Palace that was across the street from our venue for the night. It just smelled so good I could not help myself!

After eating I was off to the Ball! I received some wonderful swag! I wish I had got some better pictures of the event, but my phone was going dead, so I didn't want to waste the batteries, just in case. There were all kinds of fun accessories, scrapbooking elements, charms, so much goodness! I was so excited! There were some candles from Gold Canyon Candles that smelled amazing (ginger lime, OMG it was the best smelling candle EVER, and packed such a big punch for such little candles!). There was also some earrings from Hoopla Earrings that I just LOVED (so much that I put them on right away!) And of course there were some lovely headbands and clips from Whippy Cake! There was so much fun stuff! Oh, and can't forget the Grandma's cookie!! My favorite cookie in the world!

After I was good and done looking at all the goodies in the swag bags I made my way over to the "Buffet" This was not your typical buffet though. This was every paper crafters dream. A giant table filled with every embellishment you could possibly imagine! Bins, and plates, and cupcake holders FILLED with fabulous swag, and we could take as much as we wanted! It was all up for grabs, there were stickers, letters, pockets, ribbons, feathers, lace, rhinestones, paper, clips, brads, flowers, washi tape, stamps, ink, it just went on and on!!! I must have visited the buffet at least a dozen time during the night, and every time I came back with even more wonderful stuff! It was AMAZING!

I had forgotten my pictures to smash, so I didn't get a ton done, by I had so much fun getting to know the ladies at my table! They were all so much fun and were very welcoming. I was so nervous, since I had never been to something like this, and they made me feel so welcome. Alexes Brown, Jenny Purcell Nielson, Lori Allred, Staci Potter, and the other ladies at our table were awesome! So glad I met them, and hope I see them at other things in the future!

All of this made me realize that I need to be branching out more and meeting new people with my interests. The last few years I have pretty much become a hermit out of necessity, due to Dominic's schedule, and it has really not been good for me. I have been missing out on meeting people and doing things that I enjoy. I have been so focused on getting him through school and taking care of my boys that I have lost sight of all the things I once enjoyed! I need to start getting more involved in the crafting community we have here. Everyone I met was so wonderfully awesome, and I had more fun than I had had in a long time. It was so good for me! This will not be the last thing like this I attend, that's for sure!

I am so glad I got the opportunity to go to this! Thank you so much to all the sponsers. K&Company, Spark the Event Online, Carina Gardner, Amy Burchfield from GC candles, Hoopla Jewelry, Ellie Collection Jewelry, and of course Becki from Whippy Cake who made this whole thing happen! It was an amazing night, and I really enjoyed getting "Smashed". LOL!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Daily: Day 3

Another day past, and another one that I am on the ball! I've got yesterday's December daily page all made! They might not be the most beautiful pages, but they are serving their purpose of getting the info down and recorded!

Here is Day 3!
 This is the spread. I attached today's photo to the back of the one from the previous day, and then journaled about a new tradition we are starting around our house, and how my husband surprised me with an early Christmas gift for it.

A friend talked about how one of her friend's family would set the table with all the nice dishes on the first of December and eat every meal together as a family at the beautifully set table throughout the month. I loved the idea, so I got out some nice glasses and dishes and set my beautiful table. The only thing missing was nice silverware. I didn't have a matching set at all, so I set it with some shiny plastic ones from the dollar store. When I told my husband about it he decided to give me one of my gifts early.

He had purchased me a beautiful set of silverware as a gift! And so I could enjoy them with my new tradition he gave them to me early. They really make the table look even better!
 Here you can see the journaling from the previous day poking through. I thought it would be fun to take these photographs on the table, since that is what I am talking about.
 A little more of a close up. Love the glittery letters I used!
And a very close-up of the photo! Even in the picture you can tell how wonderfully shiny and beautiful they are! He said he spent hours trying to find just the right pattern for me! How sweet is that?

So there you have it! Day three down! This week is going to be a difficult one to find stories, since we are pretty much sticking around the house. Next week should be more interesting, with a Holiday party, my birthday, and a few fun excursions planned! I am looking forward to getting to the more interesting stuff, but little things like this are great too!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Daily: Day 1 & 2

Sometime soon I am going to track down my adobe suite and put it on this computer. So tired of sub par pictures! Need some editing done to them!

With that said, let's talk about December Daily some more! So excited for this project this year! I was planning on waiting until this weekend and getting all my pictures printed at Walgreens, but decided I would try printing some photos from my brother printer. the quality was WAY better than i had been expecting (it's not a photo printer, so I was not expecting much). The best part is, I have a printer app on my phone that allows me to print my instagram and other photos straight to my printer from my phone! So easy!! So I printed off a few pictures quickly and threw together the first few days.
 Here is the beginning. Added a calendar to the inside front cover, plus my fabulous divider for the beginning of December. Still am so in love with these!
 Day one. I went out to breakfast with my Aunt and Cousin and then went shopping for my FREE sweater from Old Navy and Crowdtap (more to come on that, writing up a review for the blog!). I printed off a picture of the sweater I chose and cut it down to fit the space. Journaled a little about the day on a printable card I found here. I added some fun green letter stickers to spell out "Fabulous". It was pretty quick and easy!
 Day two. Just realized this one needs a number somewhere. Will have to add that. Anyway, lots of journaling here. Wrote about our trip to the new trader Joes that just opened, and visiting with my friend Maryann!
 Here is a close-up of the picture I printed. This was us waiting in line! It wrapped all the way down the aisle! Pretty long for a grocery store!

 Pretty simple start. I think I want to go back and make an introduction page of some sort. I think i will use the picture of the Christmas tree Dominic took on Instagram.If you want to follow along with our December Daily fun you can follow us on Instagram!Just click on the little button below!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

December Daily- We are Ready to Rock

Over the last few weeks I have been working on setting up my December Daily Album for this year. I've already shown you my Foundation pages, and the first Draft of my cover. Now it's time to dig into the fun stuff I have put inside! I've also got some pictures of the supplies I have gathered to use throughout the month, and a fun idea for getting the whole Family involved in December Daily.

I apologize in advance for the less than stellar pictures. I am still trying to figure out the best settings on the camera I own, and my computer with my editing software is being buggy today, so these are SOOC (or Straight out of camera for you folks who don't deal with camera terminology).

Let's start off with my updated cover. I added a glue rub-on tree which I then glittered. I added some rhinestones for ornaments, and a chipboard star for the top. I also altered the back a little, just extended the washi tape to cover the entire spine on the back. I failed to get a picture of it though. My boys are loving looking through it already and are super excited to get started this weekend!
I gathered a bunch of supplies together to make the recording and embellishing more easy. These are going to be set on my kitchen counter near the table so I can quickly get some recording done without pulling out any additional supplies. The red utensil container has a few ink pads, a couple smash stamps, 9 rolls of washi tape, several adhesives, rhinestones, glitter, a rub-on applicator, and various pens.

I also gathered together stickers, journaling cards, die-cuts, rub-ons, envelopes, extra page protectors, etc. These I put in a cute tin I found at Ikea, I put little cards in that separate each catagorey for easy access.I also have a small paper cutter and a 3-hole punch that I have adjusted to punch holes that fit in the album.

Now on to some of the things I have already added. I love adding in all kinds of memorabilia from throughout the month, but some things come from earlier and fit with what I want in my album, so I include those too!

I took one of our Christmas Cards and cut it in half (removed the back) I then punched it with my hole punch and insrted it into the album. On the other side of it there was a big blank space so I added a little die cut that says 'Seasons Greetings" and a handwritten note that says "Our Christmas Card". Looking back I wish I had picked a Christmas card that was horizontal rather than vertical so it would have looked better in the album. Oh well, there is always next year!

The other thing I have put in is Ryan's "Letter to Santa" He drew a picture of what he says is "Lego guys", because that is what he wants for Christmas. if only I had known that BEFORE I finished my Christmas shopping for him. Jack had one as well, but he spilt milk on it, so I am going to have him do another one later this month.

 Now on to the fun stuff!! This is mostly just for looking at, so I won't talk to much about them. If you have a question leave it in the comments and I will try to answer it. These first pictures are all of dividers I made for throughout the album.

And then there are some fun little inserts. There are more of these, but I only photographed a few. Many of them are on the backs of envelopes, so there will be little pockets to put things in throughout the album.
I also have a little notebook that my Mother-in-law sent me a few months back that I am going to keep with me while we are out and about throughout December so I can jot down anything that I want to remember to put in the album.

You'll notice I didn't put any numbers on my pages. I want t be able to move the little inserts around wherever they fit best. The foundation pages I have each have the date, and i have some numbers I have cut to add if I feel like it.

So there you have it, all the basic elements of my December Daily Album for 2012! I think this is the most on the ball with this I have been in a while! So proud I have gotten this far with it!

To make this project more of a family affair I have made a fun list of random things to take pictures of throughout December. It's about 100 items long, so there are some pretty obscure things in there! Every day each family member has to take a picture of at least one thing on the list. I purchased a cheap digital camera for my boys to use (It was free! Just had to pay $2 for shipping! Score!). I imported the list into my "Cozi" App on my new smartphone so that we can check things off the list wherever we may be. Not all the pictures will make it int the album, but some will, and it will be a fun was to get the whole family involved in the project!

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Little Word: What Will You Focus on in 2013?

It's about that time of year that I start thinking about my "One Little Word". This is a word that gives me a focus for the upcoming year, something to work on, think about, develop, etc. I got the idea from, you guessed it, Ali Edwards (have I mentioned how much she inspires me in everything she does?), and it has been interesting.
My word last year I believe was "Create". I don't remember exactly. I lost track of what I wanted to focus on this year at some point, as I focused on meeting the needs of everyone else. I think I created, but I didn't really focus on creating myself. I meant to create in many different meanings of the word, and it all got lost because I put myself last. I wanted to create an organized home, I wanted to create traditions, I wanted to create memories, and mostly I ended up creating stress.
This last little part of the year I am going to try to focus on creating more, and one of the things I want to create while I do that is something visual I can put up in my house to remind me of the word I choose for 2013.

That leaves me the task of deciding on a word. In the past this has been a hard fought battle. I probably over-think it, but it always seems like such a big thing to me. I think about it a lot. I even pray about it. I ponder the year ahead and what I know I will be facing. I think about other goals I have set, and how I might incorporate them into my one little word. I think of it as an affirmation, or a resolution. It defines me, and focuses me, and feels like something that should be given great thought and consideration.

Some that are in consideration for this next year: Create (again, so I can do it right this time), Memories, Me, Achieve, Be, Challenge, Cultivate (that was on my list of maybe's last year), Focus, Record, Lift, Moment, Restore, Venture, Wonder... and the list goes on. It's going to be hard to choose one.

So, if you could choose one word that represents what you want for the coming year, what would it be? What one little word will define you this coming year? Think about it, and post your answer below. Perhaps you will inspire me... ooooo Inspire is a good word too....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY Graphic Christmas Canvases

Today I want to talk about these cute little canvases I made yesterday. They are so simple, easy, and cheap! I'm going with a color scheme of red, green, gold, silver, and glittery this year for our decor, and they make such lovely additions!

Here's what you need:

2 Canvases- One 12x12, One 8.5 x 11 (I love the bulk value canvases at Micheal's)
Red glitter Chipboard letters ( I used these)
1 chipboard Ampersand in a contrasting color
1 flat glittery ornament (I found mine at Dollar Tree)
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

1. Decide on what two phrases/word you would like on your canvases, make sure you have enough of every letter you need (I forgot this step and ended up having to turn another letter into an "r" to finish merry & bright). I suggest one long one, and one short. For example Love & Joy + Noel, Jingle Bells & Snow, etc. You will likely have enough letters left to make a few more words (I am going to make a Santa and Snow one as soon as I can get out to Dollar tree for more ornaments).

2. Arrange the letters on the two canvases to your liking. I found it helped me to draw a light pencil line to line up my letters. Remember to leave space for your ornament on one of the canvases.

3. Once you have you letters arranged how you would like remove one at a time, place hot glue on the back and replace it in the same position. Do the same with your ornament. Allow to dry. Erase any pencil marks that may be on your canvases.

It's really that simple! it took me less than 5 minutes to do both of mine, and I love them. They are so graphic and simple! And I already had all the items I needed on hand, other than the ornament. I can't wait to do the other two!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Monday: Week Three

Yay! We are back to Monday again, and another installment of Menu Monday!
So what's on the menu at the Ford's house this week? Lots of warm comforting food, with quite a few seasonal yummies thrown in.

Black & White Vegetarian Chili

This link is a three for one! There are three Chili recipes contained here, and all of them are super easy. We have made the curry chili and the pumpkin chili before (and I even combined the two recipes for an even more delicious result!), but this time I chose the Black and White Chili, just to shake things up. So far the pumpkin Chili is my favorite, but we'll see if that changes!

Tomato, Herb, and Goat Cheese Frittata

This recipe hails from my newest favorite recipe blog Naturally Ella. She is my kind of cook! She uses natural, wholesome, in-season produce in here recipes. This one is from October, and uses the last of her yummy tomatoes, so not in season anymore, but still delicious! And thanks to my handy, dandy, anniversary gift I am now able to make Frittatas! Yum Yum Yum! I have a very big love for cheese of all kind, but goat cheese has to be one of my favorite to cook with. It is so tangy and creamy, and works well with so many kinds of food! Don't be afraid to try it, it is delicious!

Roasted Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Tart

 Now that you know of my obsession with cheese it will come at no surprise that this recipe contains three cheeses! Add in the deliciousness of butternut squash (a staple around here during the winter months), and delectable caramelized onions and there was no way this one was not making it on the menu this week. Bonus is I still have some butternut squash leftover from last weeks Lasagna, so I don't have to carry home a heavy squash!

Roasted Curried Tomatoes with Fried Paneer and Rice

Another lovely recipe from Naturally Ella. This is a lighter take on Indian Food, and seemed like just the right thing to round out my menu. With fresh paneer it should be amazing! I love that I can make Indian food more affordable and accessible now that I can make my own paneer. Learning to make Paneer, Mozzarella, and Ricotta cheeses has really changed the way I look at recipes. I see those ingredients as a gallon of milk, and boy does that make it seem more doable on a budget! Now if only I could learn to make Goat Cheese and find goats milk locally.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup with Lime

Our last recipe hails from Kalyn's Kitchen. With the cold weather I can't help but throw in more soups into our menu. I love soup, and I am trying to convert my husband to loving soup and chili. So far I have found one soup and one chili he actually likes. This recipe mainly made it on here because I have two extra cans of Black beans in my pantry, and a large sweet potato that has to be used. That makes this soup a budget helper, as all I have to pick up are some limes! Score! I always love finding recipes that use what I have on hand!