Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'd buy you a K-car

So we got a brand new Kohl's store in Redmond. I think there might have been one farther away, but since I never really lived near one, I didn't feel the need to drive far away to visit one. TJ and I went to Kohl's in Pittsburgh, in Oct 2006, when we were in town for Kristine's wedding. To me it seems like a slightly more upscale version of JCPenney.

However, I am a fashion magazine addict and I started to notice ads for Vera Wang's a low-priced line at Kohl's. And since I got a $10 coupon in the mail for the Grand Opening of the Redmond store, I thought I'd head over there this morning after my walk with Allison and Hank. Speaking of which, we've walked at Marymoor 6 mornings in a row! Yay for us!

Anyway, back to Vera Wang. I loooove her fairytale wedding dresses and her jewelry line is beautiful as well. So that definitely hooked me into visiting the new Redmond Kohl's. I also needed some pajama pants and another pair of decent sweats since the paint-spattered ones shouldn't actually leave the house, at least not with me wearing them. Maybe in a bag for Goodwill.

Kohl's did not disappoint for inexpensive simple clothes like sweats and PJs; however time will tell whether they hold up through multiple washings. I had a very disappointing pair of pajamas from Sears that lasted literally 2 washings before they started to get holes in them. Stupid. I understand the need for cheap, but 2 weeks is not an acceptable time period for even a $20 set of pajamas.

The Vera Wang line at Kohl's isn't bad. I'm too much of a department store snob to be really thrilled about it, but there were definitely some very cute pieces. This camisole would be really cute with jeans and sparkly heels. There was a gorgeous version of it in mustard, with a bold print, that I might go back for tomorrow, with the $10 coupon they gave me. Some of the beaded/jeweled tops and dresses looked very cheapy, but then again, that sort of stuff is hard to pull off.

And at this point, I should take the time to note that I am very grateful to be able to shop wherever I want to, and I realize not everyone is able to have that luxury.

Now back to my regularly scheduled post. I bought some very cute fleecy pajama pants in lime green with a nice snowflake pattern. Neither the picture on the Kohl's site nor the one I took with my own camera does it justice. They're very bright and cheerful so you'll just have to imagine them and feel their fuzzy softness.

I also bought a cream-colored hoodie with an awesome pattern that looks like some kind of woodblock-printed fabric. Of course it's not, it's just mass-printed in China, but for $16 I couldn't pass it up. Here's a picture of the cool print:

Neat, huh? I also managed to find some black velour sweats and a pair of grey pajama pants from Vera Wang and called it a day. So my $10 coupon turned into $80 of shopping. I guess that was a pretty good return for the store!

TJ and I are also anxiously awaiting our long underwear woolies to arrive from the REI outlet. It's already freezing here - has been consistently around freezing in the mornings. If I'm going to walk at Marymoor every morning, I need more than one set of woolies. Brrr!

Yesterday was a good day - I am halfway done with the custom order for Trista. Got a lot of work still to go, and earrings to make, but just getting the skeleton of the bracelet together and half of the embellishments was a big accomplishment for me. I'm really happy with the way it's turning out, and I'll post pictures after Christmas.

I've also managed to post a few more items to my Etsy shop. Since all the search results are sorted by date posted, I've been trying to post one or two items per day in order to stay somewhere near the top.

There's so much jewelry there that I can't really expect strangers to find me, so most of my sales have been to folks I know. Which is fine with me - that way I know my pieces are going to good homes :D

Now I'm really going to take that nap I never got around to yesterday. Waking up at 7am on a Saturday is HARD!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fly me away

OK, I'm procrastinating. I have to make a ton of jump rings for a new project, and my little craft room is cold, and really, I'm just being whiny.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Aunt Susie's was nice. She has the most gorgeous nice china I've seen - a bold black and white pattern with a silver band around it. Since there seems to be no good way to look up china patterns online, I can't show you a picture of it.

Spike thoroughly enjoyed dinner last night, too, since he got to spend 20 minutes licking the bowl that held the green bean casserole after it was empty. He did a very good job getting the crunchy, stuck-on, crusty bits out of the bowl. I'm sure it taxed his little beagle brain, in addition to nourishing his little beagle belly.

I made these little GeekMagnets(tm) as a hostess gift for Aunt Susie. I had a lot of fun making them, and they're really pretty easy and a fun project. I do have to work on the pictures, though. Since they're shiny, that makes it hard to get good pictures.

I've got some ideas for selling them in my etsy shop but I've got some jewelry projects I need to make first. But now, I'm going to take a nap.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank you thank you silence

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In the grand tradition started by my parents several years ago, we used to go around the table and name the things we were thankful for each year before the big (Indian) Thanksgiving dinner.

Since I'll be eating with TJ's family this year, I'll give my thanks here. I am thankful for:

  • My great and supportive husband and our sweet puppies, Best Dogs Ever.
  • Our loving and supportive families - I am lucky to have my own, plus TJ's now.
  • That I found a hobby/passion/timewaster/money pit that I truly LOVE. I can't believe it took so long. (This is the jewelry-making, by the way.)
  • My new job. It truly is that magical combination of fascinating work, great co-workers, and a great manager. How lucky am I to have found that in one place??

OK, your turn. What are you thankful for? If you have a blog, post it there and leave the link in your comments. Or just put it in the comments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My tale is the most bitter truth

My boss gave us the afternoon off. Yippeee! Four and a half days where I can make stuff, sleep in and play with the puppies. Yay!

I have bought a bunch of supplies lately for a little side-project I'm trying out. More trips to the craft store, yay! I'll keep you posted on how it goes. If it goes well, some people may get some handcrafted spunky little Christmas gifts from me.

So Allison and I did great so far this week - 3 days in a row of walking at Marymoor at 7:15am. I am impressed. Neither of us has flaked out yet, which is fantastic. I think it's important and sets a good precedent for later. And I did notice this morning that it's becoming just a tiny bit easier to get up in the morning. I've been able to do it without the alarm so far, which is awesome. I hate the alarm - it's so jarring and makes me feel tired all day. Though without it, I inevitably wake up once in the middle of the night in panic, hoping I didn't oversleep, and then another time about an hour before the right time for me to wake up. Maybe my brain is still on daylight savings time or something.

Obviously the dogs are thrilled about a dog park trip in the morning. It was freeeeeezing this morning - around 35 degrees F. Sad. But today was a gorgeous (freezing) bright sunny day. I think it didn't even get up to 50 degrees. I fear that we will get some snow this year if it continues to stay cold like this. We'll just have to hope for no more dramatic power outages or else talks of moving to Arizona will surface again.

The ad experiment continues. So far I have earned $0 from Google. I'll have to figure out ways to increase my blog traffic, I guess.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Like a barren winter's day

So Sitemeter again yields something interesting. I was reviewing my hit counts to apply to put some ads up, and found an interesting link.

My concert post apparently made it to some kind of music blog and has been held up for ridicule - awesome. Nothing better than a bunch of hardcore crappy music fans to denigrate the House of Peanut. Love it. As if I'm even *trying* to write a serious concert review. Apparently the dudes on their site (and we know it's all dudes), have criticised literally every line of my post. Nice.

To read for yourself, check it out:

I also love how a Google search, and writing up a quote counts as a blog post on a music blog. Um, can we say LAZY??

Oh well, that explains the trolls around here lately.

I depend on me if I want it

You may have noticed the Google ads in a prominent place on my blog. I've been getting a lot of hits lately, so I figured I'd try out the ads and see how it goes.

I held out for a long time, but I'm curious to see how it works.

Let's just say a wise friend suggested I try it :)

And I guess it struck a nerve

So apparently my assessment of Bleeding Through as crap incited some Internet anger as two random strangers commented to chastise me. One with some not so nice things to say about HIM, which is fine with me, since I can take criticism of bands *I* like, but I deleted the comment because the language was homophobic and unnecessary.

Whatever, dude. I'm not losing any sleep about it, that's for sure.

Craft show on Saturday was pretty much a waste of time, though it was fun chatting with Dawn again, and two friends came by during the day: Rob, with his very nice orange Corvette Z06 (drool) and Traca, who I work with. I sold one bracelet all day, so it wasn't exactly an awesome sales day for me. However, a lot of people came by and commented on the 'uniqueness' of my jewelry, and I don't know if that means "wow, your stuff is crazy and ugly and *I* would never wear it" or if it was a genuine compliment. But at least they were nice about it.

There were several jewelry vendors at this small show, two of which had much nicer displays than me. I still haven't fully committed to this craft show thing as a regular activity so I don't want to spend a lot of money on nice displays. And after two craft shows in a row where I sold hardly anything, I think I'm ready to go back to the Internet as my main selling venue. My weekends are much too short to burn a whole day sitting in some dank auditorium waiting for someone to like my stuff. At least online, I can do other things while I wait :)

Word of mouth is traveling fast among my friends, thanks to some intentional marketing I've been doing (promotional postcard mailed out, info on my Facebook profile, and a very nice email Nathalie sent out to *her* friends letting them know about my shop.) In the past 2 weeks I've sold 5 items from my etsy shop, and have a custom order pending for another friend. So it's been nice and busy. In fact, just yesterday, to make me feel better about my lack of sales at the show, I had an etsy order (from a stranger!!) waiting for me. So nice.

I skipped out on the Gem/Jewelry show today, though I've heard those are a great place to buy beads. I have a *lot* of beads right now, and just received a huge order of silver wire and sheet and some beads for my new jewelry line that I've been planning, plus the fairly complex custom order for Paul and Trista. So I don't really *need* to spend any more money on beads right now. Plus, Amma is going to India in March, and she can find some fabulous semi-precious beads there, so I plan to send a lot of money with her then.

My friend Allison and I are going to start walking at Marymoor in the mornings (7:15am, shudder), which is good for us and good for the dogs. She has an adorable Lab puppy named Hank who needs daily exercise, and lord knows our guys could use the exercise too. We're meeting tomorrow morning.

She recommended "You on a Diet" to me - it was a heavily Oprah-pimped book and I avoided it for a long time, not wanting to get suckered into *yet* another diet book. I picked up a copy today, with a 30% off coupon from Borders, because I realized I really do *need* to do something about this weight before it becomes a real problem. I have more clothes in my closet that don't fit than ones that fit me currently. Which is *BAD* *BAD* *BAD*. Past failed attempts to lose weight loom behind me like mocking ghosts out of Harry Potter. (Hello Nearly Headless Nick! Hello Peeves!)

But YOaD seems a lot less 'diety' which is what I'm looking for. Lifestyle change, and all that. I'm doing a *lot* of walking during my daily commute, and that's definitely helping my energy level - I rarely nap anymore. If I combine that with eating less crap, I probably could be dangerous. Unfortunately working in Belltown = a lot of fabulous bad for me food options. On the bright side, TJ and I are eating out a lot less, since it takes me so long to get home in the evenings.

So I've got a long way to go, but I can start small. At some point, I'll actually *want* to join a gym. Right now I'm feeling very anti-gym. Anyway, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, right? And that step will be to go to Marymoor with Spike, Allison and Hank tomorrow. Woot.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

These boots are gonna walk all over you

Today was a day of waiting for the bus. A lot. In the morning it was 20 minutes, because there was some traffic light problem in Redmond. In the evening it took me over an hour to get home. Not sure why. Bad bus juju today, I guess.

So I had a lot of time to think about my blog post for the evening. I was just thrilled with my new boots (Sofft Modena III in black leather), which finally arrived from yesterday. I actually first saw them when I was shopping with Kristin a few weekends ago but none of the stores at Bellevue Square (and we checked 3!) had my size. I *love* these boots.

The lacing up the back is fantabulous, but the best part about these: I can walk the 2+ miles to/from the bus comfortably in them. And they have enough of a heel to make me look cute and not seem like "comfort shoes" in the true Seattle sense of the word. Loooooove them. Got lots of compliments today too. Woot.

So that was going to be the end of my post, just some boot drool. But then Grey's Anatomy happened.

Honestly, I've been less than thrilled with it this season so far. Some of my favorite characters are gone: Addison, to her new crappy show, and Burke, because he's intolerant and doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. And now they seem to be booting Callie as well - such a disappointment. So I was ho-hum about the new season - it's definitely on my priority list to watch, but I haven't really been enraptured yet like I was when we had the DVD marathon weekend for Seasons 1 and 2, or even last season.

Until tonight. The medical emergency was a school bus accident, which caused the hospital to be overrun with teenagers and there were lots of high school culture-related storylines. Which of course I can relate to, having been fairly traumatized by my high school experience. It was cute and funny, and sort of ok through the first 45 min or so. Better than usual, but still nothing superb.

And then Bailey (who always has these great grand speeches!) had her turn, venting her spleen at McDreamy about how "girls like her" never got noticed in high school. And I was just sitting there in shock. Because she was talking about me. (granted, it was relevant to every other geek girl in the history of time). But the emotion, and accuracy of that scene was just un-freakin'-believable. I still get chills thinking about it. I could have written that scene. Heck, I could have performed that scene. The fact that I was watching someone else do it on TV, who doesn't know me, a scene that was written by Hollywood TV script writers? Holy crap, it was amazing.

I know most of you out there don't watch the show, or had different high school experiences, or whatever. But I just had to share. It was like watching myself on TV. I am definitely buying this season on DVD regardless of what else happens, just for that 5 minute scene. Dang.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What a wicked thing to do

Wow, I sure have a lot of catching up to do here. The highlight of last week was the HIM concert on Saturday at the Showbox SODO, so I guess I'll finally write up my mini-review.

I went with our friend Dave (no blog) since TJ was still out of town, and he really isn't a concert kind of guy anyway. The ticket said 7pm so we got there around 6:45. Of course, once we got there I realized it meant 'Doors open at 7pm' so we were stuck standing outside for 15 min or so. And because I didn't want a heavy jacket inside, I left it in the car and then proceeded to freeze while we waiting in line.

Waiting in line gave us the opportunity to people watch. Lots of teenage goth girls. And goth boys. And ambiguous gender people. Pretty much everyone was wearing black. Fortunately I was smart enough to comply so I didn't stick out too much as one of the old uncool kids. (At least not at that point.)

So they finally let us in. The venue wasn't bad, at least layout-wise. There's a bar area/beer garden in the back of the hall, and a nice one on one side, and enough bathrooms, which were even clean. Dave and I hung out in the beer garden because it was mostly empty, given all the underage folks at the show. We leaned on the railing and even had a table to put our drinks on.

The opening band, Bleeding Through, SUCKED. Crappy speed metal. But they get props for having a female keyboard player. And when the lead singer actually sang, instead of yelled or growled, he actually didn't sound half bad. And the drummer was actually quite good. 45 minutes was too long to sit through that garbage, but I was pacified by the nice lemon drop martini made by the fabulous hip bartender.

And then HIM came on, finally, around 9:30pm. A long time to wait, but well worth it. It was an awesome show. Too bad the acoustics in the Showbox completely suck. And I'm no audiophile, but even I could tell. The band sounded just loud and sort of jumbled/muffled. The show would have been truly AMAZING in any other location, but the lack of good sound really took a lot away from it.

They played a ton of songs from the "And Love Said No" Greatest Hits album I have (and love). They played a few from their newest album, of course. No "The Sacrament", though, which made me a little sad. The other odd thing was that Ville did almost no talking between songs, and when he did it was unintelligible. Not just because he has an accent, but literally he was mumbling. Or maybe it was the bad acoustics again. And they did no encore. Just quit abruptly at 11pm. Very odd.

Unfortunately I had one too many drinks (which for me was 3) and got very chatty with the folks nearby, much to Dave's chagrin. Not to mention the killer hangover I had the next day. Next time, only 2 drinks for me. Sometime in that chatty evening, I gave my email address to some dude, promising that TJ and I would come and see his band. At least I had the presence of mind to give him my spam address. I hope he doesn't email me.

I would love to see HIM again, in a better theater. (The Triple Door, or the Paramount - swoon!) I also found out that Nightwish is coming back in May 2008 to tour Canada and some other US cities, so I'm definitely going to see them, either in Vancouver or Las Vegas.

Yay for concerts! Now if I could only find someone to go with me to see M.I.A. or Tori Amos, I'd be all set for the rest of this year...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

One thousand one nights unseen

Quick post. I finally had some time to work on my fabulously free website, provided by Microsoft Office Live. It's a pretty cool service - they give you just enough functionality to get a rudimentary website, that makes you want to pay for the upgrade to get more features. I guess it must be working for them, given how great the stock has been doing lately!!

Anyway, check it out. It's a very simple site and only meant to drive traffic to my Etsy shop so far. I may add more content to it in the future but for now I just wanted a placeholder for the domain name without too much to think about in terms of administration.

Check it out:

I chose '' because it's short, and kind of reminded me of 'fermilab'. Funny, right? Or maybe only to my geeky mind.

Not bad, if I do say so myself, for a quick attempt with limited tools. Any ideas on what other sorts of stuff to put on the site?

Oh, and I have *finally* kicked that horrendous cough. Thanks to everyone who asked about it. Kristin and I had a good time this past weekend - pretty mellow, just shopping, eating, and playing with the pups, but a good time was had by all.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I can't sleep


After 5 days of my cough getting worse and not better, I went back to the doctor today. She pulled out the big guns and gave me prednisone and codeine, basically ensuring I won't be coherent for the next few days. Well, I guess the codeine is only for nighttime, so it might be ok.

The pharmacist mentioned in passing that I might want to take the prednisone early in the day because it makes some people a little 'jittery'. Ok, that was the understatement of the century. I took it at 4pm, and here I am, 13 freakin' hours later, WIDE AWAKE. I have not slept in 20 hours. And I feel perfectly fine. In fact, my cough and sore throat are way better.

Unfortunately I promised my boss a full day of work tomorrow (today?) since my doctor suggested I stay home tomorrow with the new drugs. Grrr. I guess tomorrow will be the day of many small naps, interspersed by meetings. Oh, and more prednisone, so maybe that means I just don't get to sleep anymore.

I am not a happy camper now. Though on the bright side, I am feeling much healthier!

Since I am awake and industrious, I am getting the house pseudo-ready for Kristin's visit this weekend. You know, cleaning up so it doesn't look like two lazy sick people have been lolling around here for the last 2 weeks.

One of the things I did was unpack my fabulous package from Harbor Freight Tools. Thanks to a tip from some fellow Etsyers, I found out you could get some cheap metalworking tools there, to try them out before buying the really good ones. So now I am the proud owner of a doming block and punch set, two different sets of letter and number stamps and a few round metal punches.

I need to put in a fairly large order for some silver sheet and wire, to work on a new jewelry collection I came up with in that cool space between awake and asleep. (Obviously on a night other than tonight!) I've got a steep learning curve to ascend to make what I envision in my head, but I think my intermediate steps will look pretty neat as well. This is where the metalsmithing class will come in handy. Unfortunately I think the last class is this weekend.

In more exciting news, though my poor etsy shop is languishing with no sales since last month, a friend asked me to make a custom bracelet and earrings for a friend of hers. I am *really* excited about this project and we're in that early phase of 'hey what do you think she'll like'. I'll post some pics as soon as it's done. But before that I get to go shopping! For more beads! and silver! Yay.

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