Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on 2011 and Looking Forward to 2012

Saturday, December 31, 2011
I remember reflecting on 2010 around this time last year. I thought about all the serious downs and paramount highs. I thought that was the year I was thrust into adulthood. I had graduated college, started making huge life decisions completely on my own, turned 19. I didn't realize until I read through my 2011 daily lines (I keep a journal where I record 1-5 lines of simply what I did or how I felt that day - I do this everyday) that I pushed through more this year than I think I did all my previous formative years. Here's a little reflection:

1. I completed my first two semesters of college.
2. I celebrated two years of friendship/partnership with my boyfriend Casey.
3. I started writing this blog in order to gain a wider audience for my shop.
4. I left my teenaged years (at least the number part) completely behind. I'm 20.
5. I was featured in the Designers of Tumblr magazine. My first feature anywhere.
6. I moved out of my parents house. For good.
7. I learned what it is to share a life with someone. The give and take.
8. I left Local Color behind and started fresh with 909 Cherry.
9. I became mother to a hamster.
10. I completed two craft shows and learned more about my target audience.
11. I became more aware of what I want, who I am (there's corn everywhere), and why I am that way.

I went through a lot of junk this year, but came out on the right end every time. I passed every class I took, I didn't try to take back my decision to move out, I strengthened bonds with my family, Casey and my oldest friends.

And though today is a day of reflection, it's also a day to look forward and leave the past behind. To learn from what you've done, but try to do better. I have my usual list of resolutions/goals. I have a tab set up at the top of my blog to keep track of everything. It's easier when you have other people watching you too. So... for 2012:

1. Keep careful track of expenses/purchases.
2. Achieve weight loss goal #1.
3. Read at least 12 books.
4. Get to 400 Etsy sales (total).
5. Keep up with food/exercise log.
6. Do 10 completely new things.
7. Get all As or Bs in spring and fall semester classes.
8. Conquer fear of the YMCA gym.
9. Drink 64 oz. of water everyday.
10. Come up with 5 new products for the shop.

I also think I should start taking more pictures of myself - I've found that as I'm focusing so much on "family photos", I'm getting left out of every one. I need to document my own growth, right? Here's to 2011 and to 2012. And to making this a good year to die at the end of. But in all sincerity, find a good party, and toast to the new year. (PS: I'd love to know your resolutions or goals, too!)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Additions to My Stationary Collection

Friday, December 30, 2011
My mom and I took a little trip to JoAnns a few days ago. I've been wanting to spruce up my packaging for 909, so I searched the scrapbooking aisles. I'll be honest and say I typically steer clear because spcrapbooking makes me sad. I don't know why. I guess everyone I've known who scrapbooks is a big weirdy. ANYWAY. I found some really cool things. I've been a giant washi tape admirer for a long time. I want a collection of it so bad, but have never ordered any or seen it in local stores. I found this ONE ROLL in JoAnns. I love it. Black and white polka dots. Definitely a new packaging staple.

I also like to write little notes to people. All I had previously were little post-its, which aren't the most attractive or creative way of writing a note. I thought these tags and cards would be perfect. I've packaged two orders using my new stuff and can't wait for the next one.

Yay stationary I guess.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011 Recap

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Christmas at the Renzes is a pretty laid-back affair. We don't dress up or have people over (save Casey, who was our first guest in the history of Renz Christmases). The lighting in our living room is just awful, so my pictures were pretty lackluster. I did manage to get three that weren't unblogable. I had to include the above picture. That shadowbox was the present I was most excited to give this year. My dad loves hockey, so I sewed an NHL logo, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiennes and Chicago Blackhawks logos and put them in a shadowbox. This genuine smile was amazing. My dad isn't one to pose for pictures, much less with a giant smile. So that was pretty awesome.

For Becky, I made an infinity scarf. She seemed to like the colors. She wore it the rest of the day, too.

I think this was the first year I got Alex something he 100% genuinely loved. I found this Bulls hat on Ebay and watched it like a hawk until the last second, when I snatched it for a seriously awesome price. He loved it.

I got other people in my family great things (or so I think), but didn't manage to get any good pictures. So pretend there are images of my mom, Ben and Casey looking super happy at how awesome I am at gift-giving. ANYWAY. I'm a curious person. I love to know what people get for Christmas. So it's only fair that I divulge some of the things I got. I was at the mall with my mom a few weeks back and saw this bag in Forever21. I've been needing a new school bag, so he just picked it up and bought it for me. I didn't see it until Christmas, but I love it just as much as I did a few weeks ago. I might even say I'm EXCITED for the spring semester because of this (also because I'm taking another lit. class).

It's kind of a deviation from who I've been all my life, but I LOVE Harajuku Lovers stuff. I have maybe 7 or 8 of the perfumes (the smaller size) and various other things. My mom found this notebook at Target and Super G perfume. 

You could say it's one of my favorite gifts.

You knew it was coming. I did get nail polish. I got 17 colors from Casey and my mom combined. Some were in value sets, I swear. My mom also got my a snapware box that fits nails polishes perfectly, so I'll be doing some alphabetizing later.

I wish the apartment's living room had better lighting, so I could show you this collection in all it's glory. Casey got me the Alice in Wonderland and To Kill a Mockingbird leather-bound classics from Barnes and Noble for my birthday this year. For Christmas, he got me Peter Pan and The Secret Garden (my absolute favorite book growing up). My mom got me Grimm's Fairy Tales, which I'm really excited to read considering I've been watching Once Upon a Time on Hulu. I got Casey King Arthur and The Swiss Family Robinson. So we have ourselves an awesome little collection going. The bookends were a PERFECT pre-Christmas present from Becky. I'm in love with them, and it was so thoughtful of her.

This was a great Christmas. I spent Christmas Eve and day with my family and Casey, and the following Monday at Casey's mom's house. I bonded with Casey's nephew Treavor and got to hold/meet his newest nephew Noah.

I really hope everyone else had a great holiday, too. I'm going to enjoy my remaining holiday break and  try to keep up with blogging again. As you can see, I spent a little time re-doing my blog theme. I'm really loving how it's looking so far. I have a few kinks to work out, but it's much more "me".

Don't forget about the 25% off sale! Use the code END2011 now through December 31st! Shop here!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

NOTM #33

Saturday, December 24, 2011
China Glaze - Riveter Rouge (3 coats)

This has been on since Wednesday (this is truly amazing for me) and will probably stay on until tonight. It's the perfect holiday color. Plus glitter, so it'll be a bitch to get off. BUT, it's worth it.

I'm off to make some pumpkin spice bread and finalize my Christmas present wrapping.

I really hope everyone has an amazing weekend. Merry Christmas to those it applies to. Happy Chanukah to those it applies to. And to all the rest, bon week-end!

I can't wait to share with you what I made/got my family. I should have taken pictures before, but it'll be fun to get the reactions of my family in the pictures.

Anyway, bye!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FF #26 - Christmas Songs

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This Friday Five is Christmas themed, as it should be. I'm going to share my five favorite Christmas songs. This was really hard to decide on. With some help from my iTunes "play count", I narrowed it down. Without further ado...

1. Vince Guaraldi Trio - O Tannenbaum
We were never a family to watch the Charlie Brown specials, but this year I've found myself incredibly attached to the music from them. Vince Guaraldi Trio has been my go-to music when I don't know what to listen to or am just sick of hearing people sing, but want to listen to music. This song is top on my iTunes and the main song choice for the Renzmas slideshow. Therefore, it is number 1.
O Tannenbaum by Vince Guaraldi on Grooveshark

2. The Pogues - Fairytale of New York
This is a classic. And though I have to admit (sadly), the first time I heard this song it was the Dustin Kensrue version (which is great, don't get me wrong), I've grown to love this version. It's vulgar and not your typical holiday theme, but a great nonetheless.
Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues on Grooveshark

  3. Kevin Devine - Splitting Up Christmas
This song must be played in my car about 56 times every December. This isn't really a well-known holiday anthem, but it has bells at the beginning and reminds me of good times. Simple enough.
Splitting Up Christmas by Kevin Devine on Grooveshark

4. Judy Garland - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
I'm a sucker for the classics. I haven't heard a version of this song I didn't like - Ella Fitzgerald, Coldplay, whatever. I'd have to say this is my all-time favorite traditional Christmas song. And I'll have to add it's my favorite when sung by her.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland on Grooveshark

5. Burl Ives - Holly Jolly Christmas
Last and certainly not least. As I mentioned a post or two ago, I love the movie Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. It's probably partly due to the fact that Burl Ives narrates and sings. This is the Christmas song. I've loved it since I can remember and hope I always do. It's just happy.
Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives on Grooveshark

I've love to hear your favorites. I always welcome new Christmas music. Just don't say Mariah Carey or Glee songs...because I will make the blankest face of all blank faces.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Yesterday Katie, Kristin and I took our day trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. To be honest it was a pretty awful day for a day trip. But as always, we had fun. It rained and the fog was pretty thick, but it made for some interesting pictures. (I would have taken a lot more, but it misted most of the day and water terrifies me around cameras - as I ruined my beloved Samsung with water.)

For those who don't know, Frankenmuth is a town stuck at Christmas in Bavaria. Everything is festive and German-themed. We ate at the Bavarian Inn and were served by a woman in a traditional dress. We were jealous of those who were served by the men... dressed in lederhosen. I'm hitting myself over not being gutsy enough to ask if I could take their pictures.

I'm sure it would have been better to visit on a bright sunny day, but the fact that it was so close to Christmas made the trip pretty great. I got some fudge for my dad at one of the many many candy stores. Maple walnut. Absolutely disgusting. There was no risk of me eating it.

The little town where all the shopping was was pretty adorable. Christmas music was playing just about everywhere. Since the weather was unfavorable, the crowds were minimal. If you know me, you know that's an amazing plus.

All in all, it was worth the three hour trip for a day in "little Bavaria".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOTM (#31) and a Christmas Tag

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
OPI - Alpine Snow (3 coats)

This is probably the only white nail polish I've owned that applied opaque in less than 255,875,239 coats. So that's saying something. Luckily I'm not so pale that my nails completely blend into my skin.

So tonight I'm sitting here in my living room. ALL the presents are made and wrapped. ALL my schoolwork is done and my grades are out (totally boosted my GPA this semester). ALL my cleaning and Etsy work is complete. I'm a bit tired and want to do something a little different.

I'm going to do a Christmas tag! I found this on YouTube, but I'll bring it to the blogs (as I'm sure many already have). Stolen from beautycrush:

The Christmas Tag

1. What's your favorite holiday movie?
This is kind of difficult for me. I am a pretty intense Christmas appreciator. Let's categorize my favorites, shall we? My favorite of the classic claymation ones is Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. My favorite from my childhood is Santa Claus with Tim Allen. AND my all-time favorite is A Christmas Story. If I absolutely had to choose one it would be A Christmas Story, because I must watch it every year and have good memories associated with it. LONG WINDED ANSWERS.

2. What's your favorite Christmas color?
Hm. I suppose white. Snow is white. And white Christmases are the best kind of Christmases.

3. Do you like to stay in your PJs or dress up for Christmas?
Well, in my family, we all stay in our PJs. We're not terribly tight-knit with our extended family so we stay at home and spend the whole day just us, so there's no need to be dressing up. 

4. If you could only buy one person a present, who would it be?
Meh. I guess I'd have to say my mom. She does so much for me throughout the year and spends the most time getting the perfect presents for me. Plus she's the easiest to shop for. (Sorry, Casey. I'M your present, right?)

5. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
We've always been allowed to open one on Christmas eve. But the rest wait until the morning.

6. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?
Actually, no. Not that I can remember at least. I have an aversion to getting my hands sticky. And that just sounds like a messy process. PLUS gingerbread's pretty gross.

7. What do you like to do on Christmas break?
Okay. I'll refrain from lies. I literally like to organize. I clean out my room and make room for the new things... then I make a list of everything and put them in their new places. I also enjoy a good eating session, bout with Pokemon video games (as Christmas break typically gives me ample time to build the best team) and spend time with friends. WHICH I am doing tomorrow. I'm really excited. Katie Kristin and I are driving up to Frankenmuth, Michigan. More on that later this week.

8. Any Christmas wishes?
This question makes me think of the worst Christmas song ever.

9. Favorite Christmas smell?
Most smells associated with Christmas are so heavy. Blergh. I have an Evergreen & Cedar candle burning on my desk right now. I bought it because Casey and I have a fake tree. I like that smell. So, that.

10. Favorite Christmas meal or treat?
Becky's scones. She makes them for Thanksgiving and Christmas and they are almost all I eat all day.

11. What are you doing for the holidays this year?
This is actually my first Christmas not living at home with my family. However, it shouldn't be too different. I'm going home early in the morning and spending the day there. The only real difference is that Casey will be joining us. His mom (a nurse) works on Christmas.

12. What's your favorite holiday drink?
Uh. I drink egg nog on Christmas day. I wouldn't even say I like it... it's just what's done on Christmas. But this year I've actually purchased Starbucks drinks. I have to say that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is HORRIBLY overrated, but the Peppermint Mocha is pretty delicious.

13. Candy cane or gingerbread men?
Candy canes. Hands down.

14. What's your favorite Christmas song?
According to my iTunes count... Vince Guaraldi Trio's O Tannenbaum.

15. What's the weirdest gift you've ever received?
Yams. A can of Bruce's yams. Katie's the best gift-giver ever.

16. Have you ever made a snowman?
HAH! I live in Indiana and scoff at this question.

17. What's your winter fragrance?
Harajuku Lover's Music.

18. What is at the top of your Christmas list?
Take a guess. Obviously I asked for nail polish. But honestly one of the things I'm most excited for is the set of Prismacolor colored pencils I asked for. Not that I draw or anything, I just love colored pencils and those are so fancy.

19. What is most important to you about the holidays?
My family/friends. All my friends come home from college, my family gets in the same room for more than 15 minutes at a time and everyone's so happy. It's just the most wonderful time of the year, okay?

My paper chain only has a few chains on it! I'm definitely excited. I'm sorry for the crappy updating I've been doing. But I've got Frankenmuth to talk about later this week.

If you do this tag, let me know! I'd love to read yours. 

Happy Tuesday night! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Quick Update

Thursday, December 15, 2011
I've been a lousy blogger lately. I have the same excuse as most people do this time of year. Or at least the same grouping of excuses. I've had finals and Christmas shopping/making/wrapping. Among other stressors I'm trying to extinguish. Plus orders have been flying in, so I've been packaging and taking trips to the post office.

Excuses aside, I feel really confident about my finals and am glad this semester is over. I wasn't enjoying any of my classes an extreme amount and will appreciate being able to read what I choose to read rather than whatever my western world literature professor assigns me to read.

As for my schedule for the next few days, I'm busy. My mom and I are shopping and having dinner tonight. On Saturday my brothers and I are taking our (newly) annual Christmas pictures for the (newly) annual Christmas slideshow.

Right now I'm trying to finish up my last Christmas present and then I feel as if I'll need a nap or some serious downtime.

Back to work.

Here's hoping the last 10 days before Christmas are wonderful! (And hopefully I'll be back to decent blogging next week.)

Don't forget the DEC25 coupon code is running through Christmas. It gets you 15% off in the shop. And I've been getting things shipped same or next day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

NOTM #30 - Orly's Pure Porcelain

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orly - Pure Porcelain (3 coats)

I've heard a million times how much people hate white nail polishes. They say they look like white out and blah blah. I like this. It's off white and shiny enough that it doesn't look like white out on your fingernails. The formula is really thick and hard to work with though. It's not at all my favorite, but I'm not on the "white nail polish is gross" bandwagon.

I'm already on my next color as I'm writing this. As a break between crochet and studying I've been painting my nails. I finished my first of three finals today and have the last two tomorrow morning. So by this time tomorrow I'll be done with this semester!

Be sure to check the shop and use the coupon code from yesterday's post. Fund my winter break ;]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Christmas Sale

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Click here to shop!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Updates and Blab

Thursday, December 8, 2011
I'm working on a shadow box for my dad for Christmas. He loves hockey, so I'm going to fill a black shadowbox frame with 4 plushes with team logos and the NHL logo (which is my favorite). Definitely excited for how this turns out.

I have MOST of my presents wrapped now. I have yet to receive some in the mail, but am happy to have them made/bought and wrapped and under the tree.

I made a pretty sizable sale on Etsy this morning so I figured I'd treat myself to a little Marshall's visit. Yes, I spent some money on others. I found something for Casey and found this wallet (one I've been eyeing for weeks) on sale! $20 for an originally $95 DKNY wallet. So of course I bought it.

AND I got my package from Berkley Illustrations! My dad is a huge fan of sloths, and I've loved Berkley Illustrations shop for awhile. So... finally got to make a purchase. I got him this little magnet. He's also pretty athletic, so that doesn't hurt.

Also at Marshall's I found this. I've wanted one of those "Destroy This Journal"y things for awhile and found this in clearance for $3. I love lists. Pretty ready to get started on this.

(PS: I finished my last class of the semester! Just three finals left next week and then I'm done until January! So happy.)

Hope everyone's last day of the work/school week goes amazingly!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Annual Santa Lighting

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
On the day before Thanksgiving (which already feels like a million years ago), Katie, Casey and I went downtown for the annual Santa lighting. This is pretty self explanatory. I've lived in Fort Wayne for 15 years now. I've been visiting the Fort Wayne Santa for 20 years (we'd drive up from Huntington). I've never attended the actual lighting of it. There were so many people there. I'd never seen such a large crowd in my city (except for maybe a Tincaps game).

We waited. It was freezing. But then it lit up, everyone cheered, stood around for a few minutes, then walked away. It was monumental.

As you can see here, Santa winks. Or his eye goes black. It's suggestive and uncomfortable, but a tradition all the same.

(So you can see it in action.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nails of the Moment Vol. 29

Monday, December 5, 2011

Essie - Turquoise & Caicos (3 coats)

Take my advice. Don't buy this if you are impatient. It goes on so sheer, it takes at least three coats to be opaque. I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I really love the color, so I live with it.

This week is my last week of this semester! Two days left, then 1 day of finals and I'm done until 2012! I'm really excited for the break. I have lots of plans for the shop and need the time to make stuff. This week in blogging will include another look at downtown Fort Wayne, some new video game inspired cases for the shop and a Louie post!

Happy Monday. Hang in there.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FF #25 - Christmas Decorations!

Friday, December 2, 2011

{Our baby tree is finally up and lit!}

{This guy is our only true ornament.}

{My multi-colored lights from years ago.}

{The first snow that stuck!}

{Sappy pictures in ball ornaments.}

Come to think of it, I should have taken a picture of the paper chain I made. I'm a child. It's hanging by the doorway. 23 days left! Hope everyone's weekends go great.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

General "Mad" Anthony Wayne

Thursday, December 1, 2011
In my art appreciation (yes, it sounds terribly boring) class in college we were asked to write a report on a statue or monument in our city. The first one I thought of was this memorial of Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War general and the the "Wayne" in Fort Wayne.

Cover your children's eyes: This statue has balls on it. I didn't take a picture because people would have judged me. But I think 90% of the pictures taken of this statue are taken of the horse's horse-sized package. There happen to be a lot of children living in this city. And I guess that's just a hilarious thing to take a picture of. Okay, it's safe now.

It turns out it's also the HQ of Occupy Fort Wayne. Or at least their tents. There were no protesters at the time we went.

In the background of this picture is the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. I should have gotten pictures of the rest of Freimann Square, where this statue is. It's pretty beautiful as "squares" go. I like having assignments sending me downtown. I have a few more posts in the works that highlight downtown "hotspots".

More of Fort Wayne to come!

PS: Happy December!