Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bon's Book Club - My Story by Elizabeth Smart

So this month's book was My Story by Elizabeth Smart.
Now I will admit, reading this seemed like it would be...less than delightful, given the topic at hand.
And to be honest? It obviously wasn't one of those books you supremely enjoy reading. 
Mostly because, at heart, it is about a young girl who got kidnapped and repeatedly brutalized.
I highly doubt there are many of us out there that would enjoy such a tale.
But I decided to give it a shot, not only because I enjoy book clubs,
but also because I remember it happening.
Remember the media. Remember her being found.
Remember how amazing it was that she could actually have survived,
as well as knowing what we did about her not exactly being in the wilderness the whole time.
But I also knew my scope of knowledge as far as details was sketchy at best.
So I decided, what the hell, I'll read it and catch up on the exact happenings.

I had a few problems with this book. Mainly, that it felt like it was being written by a 15 year old girl.
Understandable, given that was approximately the age she'd been taken.
But also, she was twenty five when the book was written.
I expected perhaps her writing style would be a bit more eloquent given that fact.
Sadly, it wasn't. It made it difficult for me to get through just by its structure alone.
The choppiness of it, the lack of real ability to immerse myself in the story.
Maybe it was just because it was a traumatic event being recalled and it was true.
So obviously, it wasn't a piece of crafted fiction that encouraged those things.
Who knows? I also know I got through the book in a couple hours.
So obviously, that always stinks a bit. 

Otherwise, it interested me. I am, at heart, a psychology lover.
I actively enjoy reading and watching things that are in regard to different psychological disorders.
So to read about the way that Brian David Mitchell operated, his manner of thought,
that intrigued me. It obviously wasn't delved into deeply, as it was from her point of view,
but it still was enough to keep me interested, simply to see where it would end up.

Now, onto the questions provided!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Layout! {And the Threat of Comparing Oneself to Others}

So I did mention that I was in love with the whole aztec print revolution in fashion right now....
So I decided to draw inspiration with it for a brand new layout! What do you guys think? Pretty lovely right?
I thought so!

I have worked on it in between the other three I have on my burners (wooh my stove is gettin full) for the giveaway I did last week. So I decided to treat myself and get it finished, and I can honestly say that it's very fetching in my humble opinion. It was strange to see how much my style has changed, and to realize I was enjoying being a bit more chic and less bright and fun. Not that I don't still love to party and have fun. But hey, a girl can be both, right?


I find that I've learned a lot as far as simplicity and pleasing to the eye, as well as how to organize things a bit more efficiently. I am very proud of this layout and think it shows my nature of growing and learning beyond where I had been when I dabbled in graphics before.

Though that leads us to our second part of today's spiel.

Why is it we always drag ourselves down when we're feeling good by comparing ourselves to someone else? It's no secret that I have several blog designers that I highly look up to. Whom I think the world of and think they have loads of talent that far outshines my realm of ability. And just when I was feeling like I'd grown so much and enjoying the fruits of my labor, I scoped out a few just to see what they were up to, and felt myself deflating again.


I hate myself for doing such a thing and taking the own wind out of my sails. My life has been stressful for a long time, and I'm just now digging out of the hole I'd allowed myself to wallow in calling it getting by. So the opportunity to feel proud of myself and happy are few and far between lately. I've been majorly second guessing myself, caught between morose lackluster energy and panic. And the hits keep on coming. I'm only holding on by a thread sometimes, and sometimes not even that. But I'm still feeling better than I have been. So the fact that when I was feeling rather proud I decided to dash it on the proverbial rocks astounds me. Boggles my mind. Boggles.


I'll figure it out one day I'm sure. And until then I'm still working towards that far away goal of self assurance and calm weathering of the storm. I feel better now than I have in a good long time, as I've mentioned, and I know my family will make it through. Make it work. Together, we are everything. I don't need anything else.

So I'm going to take this victory and hold onto it.

And don't forget, if you'd like to get your hands on some affordable blog design for yourself, visit me over at my shop!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shrub Steppe Smokehouse and Brewery

So remember on Sunday I mentioned a delightful thing we did with our date night? Yes, we decided to plug in a random restaurant we'd never been to before, one that was a local favorite listed on our map app, and test it out for the hell of it! And we did not regret it. Not one bit. No. The only mild thing we came across was the pain we were in when we left because we literally could not stop eating the food.

Okay, ready to hear about it?

 I present to you...

Shrub Steppe Smokehouse and Brewery

photo courtesy of their facebook page
So I'm not going to lie, upon first broaching this restaurant, the trip there as well as the outside of it was a little...daunting. The trip there was indeed off the beaten path, and you had to take a small series of highways in order to reach it. Luckily we had our trusty phone GPS at our disposal. But even then, our signal was lost once or twice along the small trek. And when we pulled into the parking lot, it was dark, and this place was tucked in at the beginning of several buildings. The inside seemed lit well enough, but everything outside was a bit dark. But we decided, we've come this far, let's take a chance.

We were greeted by this smiling face.

photo courtesy of their facebook page

I wanted to get a pic of her myself, but I have just started blogging again and am not really that comfortable being that girl walking up to strangers with the line "Oh hey I have a blog". So I couldn't quite make it. But not for lack of her friendliness. She was absolutely bright and welcoming, and made us feel right at home in the cozy atmosphere. When we were there, there was a woman playing cards with a young child, and a couple of other tables of nice warm looking people. So the husband and I knew we were in a place we'd be comfortable in. We took a seat and immediately got down to some business. 

my amazing order. 50/50 brisket and pulled pork. Jesus.

So, upon ordering our drinks, which I watched our waitress draft quite nicely, and were equally tasty. My husband got one of the local drafts, while I had a guest draft that was a wicked cider. Very very good on both parts. Our waitress then got our orders, which we were both going to have a side of mac and cheese. But then...It got great.

She leans forwards in a conspiratory manner, and asks us if we'd like to try what they call Fat. Kid. Candy. Oh yes. You read that right. Fat Kid Candy. It was their mac and cheese half and half with their smokehouse chili. My husband and I gave each other one longing look before both pouncing on that. And let me tell you, it was so worth it. SO GOOD! We both ended up eating our side before we even touched our sandwich. There were several options of sauce to go with our meat as well, though they hardly needed anything. It was just...honestly heaven. We both stuffed ourselves way past our good nature and just couldn't stop. 

We were both so pleased with the service as well as the food that we have vowed to ourselves we will try this at least once a month. Going out randomly and picking a new restaurant we've never tried to see if we can replicate such an amazing experience. [I have my doubts just based on how good this place was, but hey, I've been wrong before]

So, if you're in the Richland area, I highly suggest going to see the Shrub Steppe folks. You won't regret it. And if they don't offer it, ask for the Fat Kid Candy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Homemade Bookclub - Month One - February Reveal

So I've decided to start my own book club. I'm sure it'll be a bit of a slow go, but I know there are bound to be other people out there like me that thirst for book clubs through blogs. I've done one before, and am looking forwards to participating in Life of Bon's book club later this month. But I've already finished the book she assigned. So I'm looking for more fulfillment.

So I chose to open my own. Maybe I'll have some fellow bookworms who would like to take the journey with me. The last Monday of the month, I'll be posting up questions that you are welcome to answer in your own blog and then we can all link up. I may extend this to pose questions every week as we read, but I don't want to go off the deep end too quickly.

So you ready for the book this month?

For February we will be reading:
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Here is a synopsis of the book from
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

So if you're interested, please go ahead and get to reading! I'm also most welcome to anyone who might wish to cohost with me and we'll share the linky on any of your blogs! Just shoot me an email or leave me a comment. I'm always happy to accept suggestions for coming months as well.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wonderful Date Night Experience

So I have to share with you all, my found again friends, the most amazing date night my husband and I had yesterday. In reality, date "night" is sort of a strong word, as he and I took off about 2 o'clock after dropping sprout off with his grandparents and went about an hour away to the Tri-Cities. [A collection of cities in our area about an hour away, including Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, WA.]

We didn't really have a goal in mind, and in my opinion, that sparks some of the best adventures. We're so used to just puttering around our own town and going to the major stops of supermarket, quickie mart, and home, and it can get exceptionally monotonous. So I'm a huge fan of spicing it up and just going where the wind blows us, so to speak. We always start at usually the same location, that being the main shopping mall, and always at Barnes and Noble. We don't have one in our town, and we're both avid readers, so we love to start and explore the variety that's offered there. Plans for tomorrow, ideas for other projects. They all seem to bloom in the comforting aisles of books. Am I the only one that works for? I used to love going to libraries just for that purpose. Plus it was always quiet, something I love.

So we took to just cruising the mall, and I will say, I was wearing an exceptionally stylish outfit. Which of course, put me in a much better mind frame than any other.

Mall Cruiser

Mall Cruiser by littlehomemadehousewife featuring 3/4 sleeve sweaters

Yes, the shoes hurt after a while, but they actually lasted quite some time. I was proud.

So we went up one side, down another. Just relaxing and cruising, enjoying one another's company without anyone else (save of course the millions of other people in the mall) and no agendas. It was freeing. Completely amazing. We talked about nothing, and browsed through nearly everything. Never really landing on anything we really needed, nor did we even bother buying anything. 

After a while of this, we decided to further exploring. And on a whim, I decided to go to Maurices. Because frankly, that's the only place I buy my clothes anymore. At least locally. Just because they have cute modern young clothes. Something that's hard to come by with all those adjectives. And besides, they offer the sizes above 12. Which is also beneficial. So we had never been to the store over in that area, and had to rely on good ol' phone GPS. But we got there in a relatively painless manner. And...sigh...I fell in love. I'm absolutely in love with the whole geometric/Aztec prints everywhere right now, (keep an eye out because you'll certainly see some more of it soon) combined with the cuts and flattering styles of the seventies. It's just.. I'm heartsick over a bunch of clothing right now. And I couldn't help but by a little something, which I promptly pushed on to go out to dinner afterwards.

Yes. And I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry. I didn't regret it but an instant. Because the whole day my husband had been eyeing me, grinning at me, and patting along my butt. And it only added to it when seeing me preen over my fun comfortable outfit. And I'm glad I changed, because we were going out to dinner next. And while we planned originally on going to Bob's Burgers, it was packed. So we decided to get on our map app and see what was nearby. We picked a local favorite at random and decided to find it.

And we did not regret it...
come back tomorrow for a continuation of our story and a review of one of most awesome home town off the beaten path bbq joints we've ever found.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blog Makeover Giveaway Winners!

So major thanks to each and every one of you that entered my giveaway!
I'm so stoked to be able to work on graphic design again in this community.
I have my fingers crossed for some really amazing inspiration and results.

And because I was so amped, 
I decided not only to give away two makeovers, as advertised,
but bump it up to three!

Y'all are so awesome
and I'm stoked to be slowly circulating once again in these circles.
So congratulations are in order to:

Brenda M!
and last but not least,
Pamela M B!

I will be emailing you all shortly with the details,
and thanks to everyone who joined the giveaway once again!
Looking forwards to sharing some stellar designs created for these
amazing winners!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Free Children's Valentines Day Card Printable

So in the spirit of the upcoming holiday,
and because I desperately wanted to make something adorable,
I decided to make up some free valentines for children!

Twelve sweet animals accompanied by their own way of saying 
Happy Valentine's Day!

I so look forwards to all the fun holiday treats
and making things like this with my son when he's in school.
And I thought, why not just print your own valentines?
So much cheaper and much more fun!
But then again, I know I'm not the first to think of the idea.

Regardless, I hope it is enjoyed!
Let me know what you think, 
and I hope someone gets some wonderful use from them!

Download Sheet One
Download Sheet Two

Cartoon vector designed by Freepik