Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I love this time of year.  My family has fall traditions that pack our weekends pretty well from here until the end of the year.  I love pumpkin, hot tea, sweaters, crunchy leaves, fall music (more about that in a moment), fall decorating, rainy days, crisp mornings and evenings, you name it. 

Work has been busier the last couple of months due to a major divestiture and while not like my old stressful job has kept me more engaged with work.  This is a good/bad thing.  To be honest, there isn't anything spectacular about what I do now which is humbling but I know it gives me the balance that I personally need.  I teeter back and forth on my feelings about my day job daily...sigh.

My diet.  I am 16 weeks into the diet I wrote about previously.  38 lb down.  It hasn't been that hard and I feel better every day, so I keep plugging along.  I can't recall consciously ever losing this much or sticking to something this long without cheating. I guess keto just makes sense for my body because it feels natural for the most part.

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak a few weeks ago.  She's currently touring to promote her new book, Big Magic.  It is about creativity and being true to who you are and what you want/need in your life.  A different subject matter for her for sure but so far, I've enjoyed it.  Mostly, I am fascinated by her life. I relate to her on many levels -- a prior divorcee who is lost and figures her way to a more peaceful self. Some days I feel like I've come so far and other days, I am not so sure.  10 years ago (yes, it has been that long) I would have been shocked to know all that I would experience in the following decade -- relationships, travel, professional success, grief, family.  I remember thinking at that time that I had so much to learn about myself and personal growing to do.  I still feel this way.  I've overcome some big challenges but other ones have made their appearances.  I've come so far, yet so far left to go.  I guess it is the personal journey though... always opportunity to improve and grow.  So seeing Liz Gilbert on my own because it was good for me was just a step down that path of personal growth.

Adele's single, "Hello," was released.  I have always liked Adele but haven't been obsessed...until now.  Maybe it is the song or the fact that it is fall music... have you seen the video?  So fall.  I get it though. Whether the song is about a person or your former self, there are times you do want to go back and rehash what happened years before.  You want to understand or even just remember those times.  I admit I have these feelings about a couple of people in my past but I most closely relate this song to visiting my former self.  Forgiving my past self.  If only we could sit own with our prior versions and talk it out.  I can't wait for the album to be released next month.

Jem and the Holograms opened last weekend.  I loved Jem as a kid and so I've made my children watch the old cartoons growing up.  Naturally, they were excited when the movie was released.  My husband even sucked it up and saw it with us girls.  Cute movie.  Nothing amazing but it had a couple of catchy songs and my girls loved it. 

The kawaii store has been moving forward, just a little bit slower than I had hoped.  The logo is finished which is really cute and I have had 6 kawaii characters created.  I have started sharing the logo a bit but not the additional characters as they still need to be named and I need to figure out how they will be used and promoted.  Working with manufactures to make stuffed animals is where I was headed but quantities for ordering are incredibly high so I am rethinking a bit how this will all start.  What I can say is these characters are adorable and the artist that I worked with did a great job and I have completed the legal transfer of ownership over to me for them. I am thinking I may not do stuffed animals initially but may focus on stationary first and see how that goes.  The other hold up has been the e-commerce platform that I planned to use.  So Amazon was my favored platform because you can sell directly on Amazon but you can also plug in your shop to your website and customize to your liking.  It so happens that I am trying to do this at the time that Amazon is ramping up for Christmas and new Amazon sellers in the "Toys and Hobbies" categories cannot start selling in the couple of months leading up to Christmas unless they have had so many prior sales... something I don't have.  So if I want to use Amazon I am waiting till January which may not be such a bad deal anyway because of the product challenges. 

Nanowrimo.  I'm going to try this year.  I really do miss writing and my writing skills have been lacking as time has gone on.  I have lots of ideas that have been running through my head for years but am not sure what I am going to write about.  I may do short stories so I can write several and I enjoy short stories, something many of my favorite writers chose to write.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's really happening

Well my friends.... it is starting to come together.  What do you ask?  My goals.  Things that seemed like a million miles away this time last year are moving forward at a steady pace.  Fast enough to bring excitement but slow enough not to stress me out.

My health.  After 8 months, my health is finally starting to come back.  I am energetic once again and focused on putting the right things into my body and making good decisions that aren't driven by exhaustion.  My water intake is on track. I went years without drinking much water at all and these days I am drinking a lot of water.  In fact, water and tea are my main beverages.  The drinking water thing has always been a problem for me since as long as I can remember. I am now 6 weeks in to a Ketogenic diet and this has allowed me to lose some weight as well as up my energy.  I used to fall asleep on the couch after a days work at 8 PM. I have no trouble staying awake now and being more active.  While I will still sit down and watch tv in the evening sometimes, I am not tied to the couch either.  Keto has been great and gotten me back into cooking again. Most of the time I prefer to eat at home vs. eating out because I have more options at home. 

My career.  Not my day job but my dream career is starting to come together.  This is where that extra energy stuff is coming in handy.  I have for so long wanted to open a Kawaii store.  I have loved Kawaii stuff since I was young and Santa left me Little Twin Stars erasers and My Melody lip gloss in my stocking.  This last year I was introduced to Japanese DIY candy and from that, I realized how much kawaii had grown since I was young.  I started to envision an online business supplemented by a brick and mortar business in my city.  For the last month, it has been full steam ahead on getting my Kawaii store up and running.  At this time, I now have a site, several online retail platforms reserved and under construction, obtained a tax id, and started working with vendors.  My plan is to open the store online initially and if all goes as planned, open a physical store here in Wichita.  I have been scoping locations but it is too soon to know if it will be all that I envision it to be.  I am also working with graphic designers on a store logo. My niece gave me an inspiration drawing over the weekend that I am using to begin with.  I am hoping to have something in the next 2 weeks selected.  When I do, I'll be sure to share it.

My home.  After living here for 4 years, our house is finally becoming a home.  We've officially completely unpacked and have started decorating rooms that were previously missed.  We've got house projects planned for the coming months and it is very exciting to see it all happening. The exciting part is I actually have energy to do some of it. 

My family.  This should really be at the beginning of this post. My family is much more content these days.  I just returned from a fun-filled weekend in Kansas City; my daughter turned 8 and we spent it at Oceans of Fun/Worlds of Fun.  I haven't been to a waterpark in probably 15 years and I loved it. I can't wait to go again.   Our trip, while exhausting, was a very nice and I enjoyed my family and was happy.  I guess that's what it all comes down to.  I am happy again.  It took awhile to get the mojo back, and I have days where it goes missing, but I am getting there. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Catch-up

Summer has arrived in Kansas and we've already spent a good amount of time catching up on our some of our favorite summer activities. 

Yesterday was Independence Day and we spent the day as a family with my mom joining us as well.  Tori has recently become fascinated with the Titanic and has read several books on the sinking as well as done a tour in Branson, MO on the Titanic exhibit.  She hadn't yet seen the movie Titanic so we sat down and watched the whole thing together.  I still can't make it through the film without crying; it is such a wonderful love story, as cheesy as it might be.  I think Tori really liked it.  We grilled out and had way too much food but it was all so good - Bourbon Pineapple Pork Chops, Cottage Fries, Homegrown Green Beans with ham hock,  Dill Cucumbers, Grilled Pineapple, Elote, and Baked Beans.  For dessert we made S'mores.  I also tried out my new fruit fusion pitcher and we made some strawberry water.  It was all so good. We also picked up some firecrackers to set off in the lawn and I had a nice time watching the girls run around with sparklers and chasing fireflies.  It felt nostalgic and rightly appropriate for the special occasion.

We did do some shopping over the weekend and...

I picked up some new craft books:

Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer For The Design-Obsessed by Victoria Hudgins
Embroidery: A Step-By-Step Guide To More Than 200 Stitches by Lucinda Ganderton
The Jewelry Recipe Book by Nancy Soriano.

I can't wait to dive into these.  I've actually already started with The Jewelry Recipe book as the girls and I have been into jewelry making lately. 

I made these plastic and gold chain bracelets a few months ago.

I've also been working on a lot of bohemian-friendship style bracelets.  I really like incorporating them with chain to make them last longer and easier to take off and put back on.
I am still working on getting Hobby & Hound up and running.  Mostly, I need to stop planning things and actually doing more of them as I have plenty of supplies and just need to make the time to work on them. I get distracted when I sit down in my office... bills to pay, blogs to read, Sons of Anarchy to watch (don't get me started on SOA... It seems like such a weird show for me to get interested in yet I am.. and flying through the series at lightening speed). 
Other summer things we've been doing include our normal excessive eating of watermelon, strawberries, and Italian ice. We've taken two trips so far -- Branson, MO and a cruise to Cozumel, MX, Belize City, Belize, and Roatan, Honduras.  I'll leave the details of those for another post or two.  I hope we can do one more small getaway this summer before school starts.  Plenty of reading.  The girls are heavily into comics right now (as well as Josh) so we make at least weekly visits to our local comic book store to pick up the latest releases. 
I have been reading quite a bit myself.  I recently finished The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.  It was a fast read for me as I had to know all the answers to the mysteries in this story. I love haunted house stories and this one read like a classic.  I'll be checking out more of Wendy Webb as soon as I get all the other to-reads caught up on.  Other books I've enjoyed are: Tampa by Alissa Nutting and Play On by Mick Fleetwood.  I caution anyone who picks up to Tampa to be prepared to a graphic modern day Lolita where the woman does the seducing of young teen boys.  While it was very interesting and well written, there were times when I just didn't want to read anymore. 
Lastly, the girls have finally gotten their Youtube channel up and running.  They've got about ten videos in the can in needing of dad's editing (which he's doing as we speak) so hopefully you will stop by and check out the PiggyChallengers.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bracelet Making

I have been reliving my pre-teen years lately and playing around with plastic lace.  I had quite the collection when I was younger and loved nothing more than trips to Hobby Lobby with my mom.  I've rediscovered weaving that I used to know and I've also picked up a few new tricks from tutorials on YouTube.  My favorite are these lace/gold chain combos. I've made several for myself and my daughters.  They take about 30 minutes to make and I love them.

These may be one of my first items for sale on Hobby & Hound.  I want to get some more samples made and then post them.  I've also started learning how to take better photos with my Cannon Rebel which makes my product look so much better don't you think?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I used to love volunteering in my community. It always made me feel more aware of how others lived and was fulfilling to give back.  Since I previously worked for Non-Profit organizations in my former life, I had plenty of time to get involved with a variety of organizations.  That hasn't happened so much in the last decade due to work demands.  In fact, it has been at least 10 years since I have done any volunteer work!  Today my husband and I were able to go volunteer at our local food bank and pack weekend backpacks of food for children who otherwise wouldn't eat on the weekends.  It felt so good to get back to back volunteering and to actually feel like I was a part of something again.  Even better was sharing it with my husband.  He and I have never done something like this together and had a good time doing so.  I plan to start doing this once a month but am on the lookout for other volunteer opportunities in our community as well.  Just one more step in the right direction of getting my priorities aligned ....

Hobby + Hound

My first attempt at a side business will be an Etsy store that I'm opening called Hobby + Hound.  The name sums up two things which are very important to me and my family and ties in quite well with this blog as well.  The focus of the store will initially be patterns and kits that people can buy and then make their own dolls, pins, etc.  I plan to have a lot of felt and crochet works as well as some paper crafts as well.  Of course, I will also be selling things I've made including jewelry, dolls, bouquets, and whatever else strikes my fancy.  I've been working on my brand logo and above is what I'm starting with.  I'm a sucker for minimalist, classic southern looks.  This is a great logo for me to get started with. 

Additionally, I'll be using my hounds for mascots.  Below is Ms. Mable Jean.  I'm experimenting a bit to get her and Molly put into cameos or silhouettes.  I think they will make a great addition to the shop and of course, who doesn't love a M&M story... ornery girls.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Chapter

Today was my first day at my new job.  As you may have noticed my attention to this blog started to lapse about mid-year in 2014 and had a lot to do with the miserable situation I was in for my job.  I was working as an IT Security & Controls Leader as well as leading a multi-system implementation as part of a severely aggressive 3 year implementation, leading a group of direct reports as well as contractors with two different IT providers and running all of the systems audits for the organization.  I hit burn out like I never have.  I worked 80-100 hours a week consistently for over a year and I was done.  I would have done just about anything to get out of that situation.  Luckily, I didn't have to.  Around Thanksgiving time I got an interview with another company that was offering decent pay and less responsibility = less work, more life.  I got an offer and started today.  I had to do a lot of soul searching and facing facts to make this kind of move.  I was on the up and up after all at my former job and headed for bigger titles and more responsibility.  The bottom line was -- I was taken for granted and I had absolutely no life.  I couldn't tell you much of what I did in 2014 because I was at work all the time.  I know we took a trip to Disney and I was deaf in one ear the entire time because my body had been so ran down I couldn't get well.  That's about it.  So fast forward to the present.

I am present.  I am committed to keep things balanced and putting my priorities ahead of a job.  To be honest, I'm not overly concerned about the demands of the new job, I just need to pace myself before I am pulling off daily miracles again and sleeping a few hours a night.

Starting a new job at the beginning of a new year is a great, fresh start.  I am looking forward to finding out what my new normal is.  I'm also excited to have more time to work on the things that I am passionate about.

  • I mentioned last year that I wanted to start my own Kawaii business.  That desire hasn't waivered, in fact, it was a consideration to making the job move.  I was never going to have time to focus on starting up a store in my old job. Now, in my free time, I can continue to work on chasing that dream.  
  • Another thing that is priority to me are my family and marriage.  My girls have gone without much attention from me over the last year and that has been hard.  My husband has gone without much attention from me since we got married in 2010.  I am really going to try to get a better family focus back in my life.  It sounds ridiculous to say that I need to put my family first because that should be so natural but it wasn't and hasn't been for me for some time.
  • My health hasn't been a priority at all.  In fact, I take better care of my animals than I do myself.  As I get older, I realize this is the body I was given, I need to treat it better.
  • My creativity.  I am a creative.  I love to write, draw, sew, remodel, bake, plant, refinish but I haven't done this in so so long.  I have done some drawing in the last year but that's about it.  I am happiest when I am creating things so I plan to get back to it. 
I do hope to keep this blog more current and keep you updated on my return to normalcy.  I have taken a giant step towards slowing down and hope I keep myself accountable to my priorities. I hope you enjoy reading my journey here.