Friday, July 22

Oh Shutterfly, You Shouldn’t Have

After 10 months (yes, you read that right… 10 MONTHS) of being married I finally got around to getting my wedding album put together and ordered.  It arrived yesterday - the bright orange box safely tucked in box #3, the key neatly laid in our tiny apartment mail hole.  You see, I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for this little puppy to arrive.  It is my own creation, showcases the happiest day of my life thus far.

I had used Shutterfly once before, but did not want to spend an arm and a leg to have my COMPLETE wedding album printed.  I wanted a big book, with page after page of snapshots from the wedding.  I’m not going to lie, I wanted every shot taken in that book.  Pricing the books made my head spin.  Our photographer (who took some AMAZING shots and I would recommend him to everyone) had created an example book with his favorite shots and told me it would be another $100 - $125 for him to have it printed – leather bound with thick pages… errrr. No thanks.  Shutterfly’s options were much better, but then you get into adding pages.  WHERE was I going to find a place that could let me create the album of my dreams at a reasonable price!? WHERE, I ASK YOU!?!

Customize Your Heart Out
Recently, Shutterfly came out with a new option for book creation, a completely customizable path that allows your artistic expression to seep through your project in its entirety.  I fell in love immediately.

I still had one problem, pricing.  We don’t have extra cash just laying around asking to be sent off for fun projects.

Sign Up for Shutterfly = Discounts Baby!
I created a Shutterfly account previously (as mentioned above) and would occasionally receive offers for discounts and freebies.  None of them caught my eye until… “50% off ALL photobooks”.  You say what?! 

I began diligently working away, selecting pictures for each page, uploading photo after photo after photo (this goes on 700+ times).   I selected colors and layouts, special phrases and fonts.  With “and they lived happily ever after…” the book was complete.  I submitted it for print and began my wait. 

Here is my book, sitting in its new home in our living room for all to see.  It turned out better than I could’ve imagined.  The colors ring true, the pages luxuriously thick, the product is exactly what we were looking for.

I invite you to visit Shutterfly’s website and sign up for your own account.  Just for doing so, they will give you up to 50 free 4x6 prints.  


 This blog is not a promotion for Shutterfly.  All opinions are truly my own.  And no, I was not asked to review my product.  I just love it so much I had to share with you!

Thursday, July 21

DIY: Master Bedroom Re-Do

"This. Is. Perfect."

This morning when I opened my eyes after hitting snooze once three times I was in awe of the work we have completed over the last three evenings.  Our master bedroom ("where the magic happens" according to my husband's Facebook comment) was in desperate need of some TLC.  In its previous life, it was a hodge-podge mess of randomly collected furniture that we tried to spruce up with our wonderful bedding we received as a wedding gift.  Needless to say it wasn't working for me.  At.  All.

I began dreaming up a room idea - one that could bend with the seasons.  After careful thought and consideration I came to the conclusion - EVERYTHING must be painted white.  Finding bits and pieces of inspiration on the Pintrest boards I knew the seasons I wanted to feature were summer (think beach cottage with sandollars and starfish accents) and winter (think snowflakes and ice accents).

Without snapping pre-paint shots, I can't stress how much nicer this room looks.  But, without more of my ramblings, here is the finished product... sheer perfection in my book:

The grand total for our total room overhaul was a huge $75...
     $30 Wall Mount for the TV (husband's addition to the room)
     $20 New Curtains
     $15 Paint & Supplies
     $10 New Lamps (got 2 lamps at Wal Mart for $5/each)

Now that I've got the painting bug, I wonder which room will get hit next...

Wednesday, July 20

Storm is a Comin'

Leaves skip across the simmering asphalt as I scurry past taking a second to glance toward the sight of humanity through the wall of glass.  Rolling clouds pour across the darkening sky.  Opening the heavy door, a drop begins to form along my hairline – the heat.

Almost instantly I’m unable to breathe.  Thickness that cannot seem to wrap itself down into my lungs grasps at me.  A strange feeling lingers in my chest as if I’ve inhaled a sponge filled with tiny specs of water.
Storm is a Comin'

Friday, July 15

Attack of the Gluten Monster

After months of G-Free living, my doctor told me that I could begin adding gluten back into my diet.  He said that he felt I had an intolerance to gluten, but that my condition wouldn’t benefit from my diet any further and that I could eat gluten on a reduced level.  

Let’s take a moment to recap:  I’ve been ailing from something since September 2010.  Those of you who do the math know that after my honeymoon souvenir of salmonella courtesy of Jamaica, that it has been a long 10 months.  (happy newlywed life to us)

After finally kicking the salmonella to the curb (in just 3 ½ - 4 short months) I began experiencing arthritic conditions.  (Insert siren noise here) I first hit up my orthopedic surgeon for some assistance.  After leaving with nothing more than a wrist brace, which didn’t help much at all, I went to my primary care physician and proceeded to BEG him for some sort of relief.  His answer was drugs – pain killers to be exact.  With a quick “no spanks” I left with only a chip on my shoulder and a piss-poor attitude.  I needed help, like NOW.  I began to do research and came across a condition called Reactive Arthritis – BINGO.  Needing a proper diagnosis I called rheumatologist after rheumatologist only to get answers like “the doctor can see you in 2 months…” “3 months” “6 months”.  WHAT?!  No stinkin’ way y’all.  I finally came to my last rheumatologist on the list.  With a prayer under breath I dialed the number – “the doctor can see you on Monday”.  I’m there!

After numerous blood tests, uncounted amounts of cash spent on prescriptions, tests, co-pays and God knows what I had my official diagnosis… errr maybe.  It was either Reactive Arthritis or Psoriatic Arthritis.  I’ve got the genetic marker for both – only time and developing symptoms would make the positive diagnosis possible.  We began a regimen fit to kick the Reactive Arthritis into remission and started praying it would work.  Gluten-free living and pills, BIG pills, that I was to take twice a day.  Swallowing the pills would be hard enough for me, but giving up my gluten.  Ekkk.  I wasn’t a happy camper, but the pain was killing me – literally.

As you know (if you read my ramblings around here) I went G-Free with little troubles.  I tweak recipes of my faves and skipped out on some items that I could live without.  Life was getting better

Fast forward to my last visit -  long story short, he thinks it is Psoriatic Arthritis (hey, Phil Mickelson, we have something in common) and that the G-Free diet won’t really be a big help anymore.  So, per the doctor’s orders I’ve been returning to a gluten-filled life like the rest of America… kinda.

I’ve noticed that a lot of gluten doesn’t really bother me other than making me feel a little sluggish sometimes.  However, some items (Soy Sauce for example) throw me into a war zone against myself that I wouldn’t wish on the devil himself.  I know to stay clear of non-g-free Chinese now but sometimes, such as last night, my own cooking sends me flailing towards the bathroom mid-meal.  My insides don’t like what I’m giving and they sure know how to throw it back.  (Lovely mental image of my head hanging inside a toilet rim huh?)

Now that I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, what is a girl to do?  Switch back to my g-free living causing me to give up some of my faves OR risk the mid-meal attacks?

Old Vino

Old Vino

Wednesday, July 13


I strive for creativity in every aspect of my life.  Looking for new ways to express myself through every outlet I can think of (strike that) stand.  I enjoy writing (see here, I actually do like this blogging thing), reading;  I enjoy decorating my home to express my family’s style;  I enjoy design work to showcase my clients’ killer businesses.  I just LOVE implementing a seed of an idea into a larger product, and of course the process in between.  The sheer thought of exploring another avenue for my creativity is enough to get me stoked!

Oh photography… why can’t I just dive in?!  I appreciate the artistic eye, the setup, the waiting for a perfect moment/shot – click.  Masterful.  The nerd in me loves the gadgets used by photographers.  You know what I’m talking about, the gianormous lenses & extra flash extensions – focus, focus – the billboard-esque straps & Indiana Jones inspired bags.  I enjoy the thrill of it, but my eye and the product captured by my camera just aren’t working out for me these days.

Here is my problem y’all… I’m lacking on the geeky side of the photography experience.  Not saying that I don’t love a quick iPhone shot supped up by Instagram, or the candid shots from vacations and family events captured by my new-ish digital.  All I am saying is that I want a contraption - one of those “is she seriously going to lug that humungo camera around all day?” types.  I picture my grandma, with her then stylish camera snapping 35mm film like a guru; using her aging hand to de-blur her view into a thing of perfection; the red camera strap weighting down on her neck in order to offset the weight of her warfare machine (aka Canon).  THAT is what I’m going for. 

Until my dreams of a “REAL” camera come to fruition, I’ll have to celebrate the beauty God has created with a little touch of my own (thank you Photoshop).

"Vagabond" 2011

What creative outlets do you enjoy pouring your talents and time into?

Tuesday, July 12

When will it rain...

Ok,  so I've had this song stuck in my head for hours now and thought I'd pass along the curse of humming the same tune along to you... Hum along with me as I celebrate my love of classic rock:

“When will it rain
Can't stand this heat from the road, can't stand the pain
When will it rain
It's burning holes in my shoes, won't you tell me
When will it rain
I think I'm going insane
When will it rain
I'm on the road that will never take me home
When will it rain”

- Jackal                                                     

Friday, July 1

Happy MK New Year!

Happy Mary Kay New Year!  How exciting it is to start fresh – new goals, new customers, new team members and new achievements.  I think this is going to be one of my favorite times in the Mary Kay year.  I feel rejuvenated, ready to tackle the New Year and my goals I’ve set up for myself. 

I really hate disclosing goals here, mostly because if I fail, I do not like to be reminded about said goals or have to rework said goals to be more “Stephanie-friendly”.  Having said that, this post is going to go through my 2011-2012 Mary Kay goals – the small, the medium, the large and the HUGE.  It’s time I start putting myself out there in order to hold myself accountable… gulp.

Goal #1 (small):  I WILL be ok with the pace that God brings these goals into completion.  We always have to remember we are living on His time, not our time.

Goal #2 (medium):  I WILL hold 3 – 8 skin care / glamour classes a month.  I know the span of these is wide, but some months lend to more Mary Kay time than others.  In order to hit the goals that follow this one, I’m going to have to get moving and meet some beautiful new women to share these amazing products and this life-changing opportunity with!

Goal #3 (large):  I WILL go on target for my first Mary Kay career car.  Driving free is for me!

Goal #4 (larger):  I WILL submit and complete the qualifications for becoming a sales director. 

Goal #5 (huge):  I WILL strive to complete requirements to be on the Mary Kay Court of Sales by selling at least $36,000 worth of Mary Kay products within the next year.  Breaking this down, I must sell $3,000 each month.  (See?  Goal #2 is a must)

Ok, I said it… it is out there… and now, it’s time to get to work.

Much love & Happy 4th of July,