Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Cheap Trick {Guest Post}

while i'm off gallivanting across the country, chas from a woman's haven is taking over for the day with an awesome DIY tutorial for you. take it away, chas!

Hello! I am Chas from A Woman’s Haven. I am here today sharing a recent project of mine.

A friend of mine made these photo boards for a family member at Christmas time and I loved the look of them so I created a few to hang in our home. I emailed my photos to the local Staples store and had them print off 3 12x12 prints for me. Each print cost me $8 which I thought was a great price! I was also very happy with the quality of the prints.

Items needed:
Pine boards cut to 12x12 size
12x12 photos
Mod Podge
Hanging mechanism

The Process:
Step 1) Paint edge of the boards in your desired color. I choose black.
Step 2) Glue photo to the board. I used Mod Podge as my gluing medium. Only apply glue to the back side of the photo.
Step 3) Let dry overnight.
Step 4) Attach hanging mechanism
Tips & Tricks for completing the project:
Before painting the edges of the boards put a push pin into the back side of the board. This made it very easy to paint the edges and adhere the photo.

Use a pop tab for a very inexpensive way to hang the photo boards.

Use a comb to hold the screw in place while attaching your hanging mechanism.

I love simple and inexpensive projects!

To see more of my projects visit my blog {A Woman’s Haven}!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On the Road Again

we're heading out west today to go visit family, introduce mack to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and do a little sight-seeing. we won't be flying back until july 9, but don't worry, i'm leaving you in very good hands. i have some fantastic ladies taking turns to take over while i'm away and i know you won't be disappointed. you'll have an assortment of topics to read about, like DIY, recipes, fashion, and even blogging tips. so, come back every day to see what we've got in store for you and show my guest bloggers some love!

when we get back i'll give y'all a quick rundown of our activities, including mack on the road, my first paid destination shoot, and my 29th (okay, i'll be honest) 31st bday on july 5th. but, for now, there's lots of fun to be had, starting with a 4 hour plane ride with a teething baby. cross your fingers!

PS: if you aren't a GFC follower yet, now's a good time to join. as soon as i hit 200 followers (which i hope will happen while i'm away), there will be a fantastic jewelry giveaway! how's that for an incentive? ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Facebook Fumbles

you know they're on your news feed on facebook, those annoying, often inappropriate "friends" who have a real knack for putting their feet in their mouths. or perhaps you are one of them? ("aha" moment, anyone?) either way, someone's gotta say it...

facebook rules to live by

complete with a facebook fumble rating of 1 to 10 (see scale below)
1: whaaaa?
2: growing up clearly wasn't on your to-do list
3: annoying doesn't even begin to describe it
4: why did i friend you, again?
5: full blown weirdie
6: you need help...the professional kind
7: you disgust me
8: train wreck - i just can't look away
9: unfriend
10: block user

profile pics should be of the facebook account holder, not their favorite cartoon.
ever browse through the names of people you think you might know, not sure if you'll recognize them after all these years, only to be thwarted by a pic of smurfette or one of the thunder cats? i give this a 2.
posting pics of your child's diaper or your child (or anyone, for that matter) sitting on a toilet should be banned.
no one needs that kind of blackmail material lying around. remember who chooses your retirement home later in life. i give this a 5.

the play-by-play of your day should be written in your journal, not posted on facebook.
honestly, no one cares that you spent your morning at walmart, followed by lunch with the ya-ya sisterhood, then cuddle time with your cats (all 23 of them) while watching american idol. you clearly don't have enough to do, especially if taking the time to write all about it on facebook. i give this one a 4.

spoiler alerts must be given when talking about TV shows or movies.
i tivo everything so that i can watch it later without the annoying commercials. this means it might be a few days before i get to it, and with a new baby, it's pretty much a certainty that i won't see any movie until it hits redbox. so, please, for the love of bruce almighty, keep your trap shut about the endings! i give this one a 3.

we are now implementing a complaint maximum. all users are limited to 1 complaint per quarter (4 per year). please use them wisely.
when you complain about the price of gas, the fact that all the good ones are taken, how badly you hate your job, how you wish your mother would stop trying to control your life, or why life is so unfair, even your cats (remember your 23 cats?) won't like you after a while, let alone the entire facebook community. attitudes are contagious and no one wants to catch one like that. i give this a 6.

don't wear your political agenda on your wall.
right wing, left wing, independent, not planning on're entitled to it, but don't push it on your facebook friends. that's a topic better discussed with like-minded individuals in person...unless you were wanting to start a fight debate. i give this one a 4.

pictures from the delivery room are acceptable; pictures of the actual birth, however, are not.
nobody wants to see your gooey baby crowning, let alone mama's vajayjay. 'nough said. i give this one a 7.

save the drama for your mama.
using your status update as a public forum to bash your baby daddy, insult your mother, vent about your ex, or slander your bff is just plain wrong. this is public, people! didn't thumper (from bambi) teach you anything when he said "my mama told me 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.'?" i give this an 8.

farmville is not for everyone.
if you want to play games, and have the time to do so, that's fine, but posting that you need nails & a bushel of apples every 10 seconds is just plain obnoxious. when those prompts to "share" come up, you do have the option to skip. please be courteous enough to do so. i give this a 3.

facebook is not craigslist.
if you would like to sell real estate, get an agent. if you want to sell your hand-me-down clothes, have a yard sale. if you want to sell your old green '81 grand marquis that you lovingly dubbed "the green booger", list it in the paper. facebook is not the place to repeatedly list your junk with your cell phone number attached to the post. you're just asking for a stalker...and an "unfriend" from me. (can you tell that i've had to deal with this one a lot lately?) for most of you, i give this a 3, but i'm so irritated by this one at the moment that, for myself, i'm giving it a 9.

rereading before clicking "post" is a must.
it's not just about the spelling errors, or the misuse of the words "their", "they're", & "there", it's also the grammar, the punctuation, and the fact that facebooking after one too many drinks or too few hours of sleep can seriously impact your ability to make sense...although that can be just plain entertaining to the rest of us. i give this one a 1.

rant over.

what would you add to the list? and what would you consider a 10?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

5 Months of Mack

i know, i know. i'm a terrible mommy blogger, because i'm just now getting around to talking about mack's 5 month mark when he hits 6 months in only two weeks. for shame! ;)

seriously, mack is the sweetest, cutest, cuddliest baby ever. (not that i'm biased or anything!) honestly, though, every single day i am amazed by him, by how sweet and content he is, by how happy he is, by how cuddly he is and how he loves to be held. i am one lucky mama.

he's not the clingy sort of baby, though. he's perfectly happy to play in either his johnny jump-up or his exer-saucer for quite a while, but when he's in my arms, he loves to reach up for my face, as gently as his baby hands can, and rest his palm on my cheek while he listens to whatever nonsensical thing i'm saying/singing. he's particularly enthralled by my nose and chin, too. oftentimes, that sweet little hand on the cheek suddenly, and without warning, grabs for some facial appendage with claws bared. and when he can't get to my nose, my hair will always suffice. "grabby" doesn't begin to cover it! but i don't mind a bit. :)

he's doing pretty well with eating oatmeal, rice cereal, and various types of baby food. he definitely takes after his gaga (my mom), though, because he loves his veggies! in fact, he fights me when i try to feed him fruits, especially pears. carrots are the go-to meal for him. they are by far his favorite. i think he's crazy, but to each their own and at least he likes healthy foods. time will tell if he develops his sweet tooth or not.

active, active, active...oh, this boy is destined to be an athlete. he's been rolling over since he turned 4 months old and since then he has decided that scooting takes too long, so he'd rather just roll all over the place. he's quick, too! the big news here is that he's been getting up on all fours and rocking for the past couple of weeks. crawling is definitely around the corner.

he still likes to talk himself to sleep, although these days it often includes grunting and tongue clicking. he's having so much fun figuring out all the different sounds he can make. oh, and he just discovered his lips, too. his newest trick is to suck them in either alternately or together, or to chew on his bottom lip. he also fixates on my mouth when i speak to him. his little lips start to move, too, as if he's trying to mimic me. i keep saying "mama" to him, hoping that he'll pick that word up first, but i don't know if it'll work, because the sounds he makes now are more of a "da" than a "ma". we'll see who he likes more what he says first.

mack is a little traitor, though. with all the time i spend with him, you'd think that i would be his favorite, but nnnnoooooooo... he'd rather be held by his daddy. whenever we skype during the week, he just lights up when he sees his daddy and hears his voice. and when B is home on the weekends, he saves his biggest smiles for him and we often catch him sitting in his exer-saucer just staring at his daddy. when B is around, i'm just chopped liver.i'm really glad that mack loves B so much, though. i know it makes B feel so much better about having to live away from us when he knows that mack knows who he is. plus, there's enough love to go around. :)

teething began a couple weeks ago, too. oh. my. goodness...the drool! how is it possible for one baby to produce so much saliva?!? bib after bib after bib all day long. i'm really grateful that that's the most prominent symptom, though. mack's personality hasn't been too affected. his patience level isn't as high as it was and he doesn't sleep quite as late in the morning as he did, but he's still pretty happy overall and i can't complain about the 12 hours of sleep + normal naptimes that he gets. the only difference, really, is that he wakes up at 6 or 6:30 instead of 7 or 7:30. i'd be a jerk if i complained about that!

month 5 has been a big month for mack. he's growing so big and strong and he just gets cuter and cuter every day. i am so blessed to have him! i often look at him and wonder "what did i do so right to deserve him???" i never want to take him for granted. between him and B, i am so in love with my boys!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thrift Store Score

first off, thanks for all the input and support on my last post! one thing is certain: the readers of NB101 rock! :)

now, on to today's post...

it's no secret that i am a thrift store addict. don't worry, i'm not hoarding in my basement or anything, but i do love a good deal, especially when it gives me a chance to put my own stamp on it.

here are some of my recent finds:

i am in love with this antique dresser. it cost me $30 and it's solid oak with original patina handles. it just needs a little TLC and it'll be perfect for our guest room.

 these two pieces go together to form an antique china hutch. it cost $30 and is solid wood (not sure if it's oak or what). i plan to completely revamp it to turn it into a small pantry for our kitchen.

 ugly, i know, but it's not the picture i'm after. the frame is 16x20 solid wood. with a little paint and some modern artwork (original by carlia, of course), this is going to look fantastic. not bad for $7.

 this large mirror just screams late 80s/early 90s, but, again, it's solid wood. for $9 it is definitely worth a second look. with a fresh coat of paint and some embellishments, it'll be perfect to hang above the new dresser in the guest room.

i love the details in these lamps! such great shapes. they need rewiring, some color, and new lampshades, but they're totally worth $3 each. 

sometimes it's tough to look beyond the drab state of items in thrift stores to see their potential, but there are so many things out there that, with a little bit of elbow grease, can really add to the look of your home without costing a fortune. if i had bought these pieces brand new, i would have spent hundreds of dollars (the china hutch alone would have been hundreds of dollars), but my total came to $82. after the cost of paint, lamp shades, etc., i'll still be well under $200 for all of it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Desperately Seeking Carlia

i have to admit that sometimes i kind of seek validation through blogging. i know that ideally i shouldn't look for that outside of myself, is what it is.

i have this need for approval, this desire to be liked by everyone. i am a "yes" person, never able to tell someone i don't actually want to spend days working on a project for them or that i don't want to babysit for them or that i don't have time to help them pick out the perfect gift for their mother-in-law. it's as if i fear that saying no will make them not like me anymore.

B thinks i'm a doormat for other people, because of this. he might be right.

at the same time, i love feeling needed. i love that my friends want to hang out with me, that they think my talents are worth borrowing, that my opinion matters to them.

knowing this about myself got me life just one big continuous popularity contest?

i'm the first to admit that i wasn't prom queen/head cheerleader/student body president/most popular girl in school. but, i wasn't exactly a social pariah, either. i was that quirky, artsy, smart girl that never seemed to completely fit into any one particular clique. i roamed from group to group, like a chameleon, molding myself to fit in with whomever i was hanging out with at the moment. i dabbled in various social circles as if they were the flavor of the week.

looking back at the high school version of myself has made me realize that history is repeating itself. i've come completely full circle. i am back to that rogue state where i don't fit into only one category, where i have no niche, where i do not fit into one blogging group exclusively.

if you wander into my blogging past, you'll see my posts were about infertility almost entirely. these days, not so much. why is this, you ask? my life is about a lot more than my struggle and my blog to reflects that.

i don't want to live by one label alone, when i know that i am so much more than that. yes, i am infertile, but i'm also crafty, artistic, a wife, a mother, a person with an opinion, a photographer, a graphic designer, a writer, a woman of many interests.

is that bad, though? am i shooting myself in the foot by not sticking to one blog topic? or am i trying too hard to make everyone like me...and my blog?

sometimes i still feel like that odd-man-out from high school. i want so desperately to belong, to fit in with the others, but i can't seem to conform enough to do so. i can't seem to compartmentalize myself like that.

i read a lot of blogs about a lot of things, most of them are topic-specific, which my blog most certainly is not...which begs the question: do you prefer a blog that is multifaceted or consistent with one topic?

all in all, i do love knowing that people read my blog. i love to look over at my GFC and see that someone new likes my blog enough to click that "join" button. i love to hear from my readers and to feel like people who aren't at all obligated to care about me or what i have to say do anyway. i think the recent growth of this blog has really boosted my self-esteem and helped me to feel for once in my life...well, popular.

and it totally made my week to receive an award for being an editor's pick by! *grinning from ear to ear*

Our Editor's Pick! Come visit our shopping blog! Pocket Change
Pocket Change

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Help Wanted

we're headed west next week to take mack to meet B's side of the family and we're going to be gone for almost 2 weeks! i'm super excited, but my poor little blog is going to be left all alone while i'm gone.

to help fill the void, i'm planning to bring in the big guns, aka - guest bloggers. i've already lined up some great bloggers, but i have a few slots left. if you're interested and have an idea for a post, you can either email me or fill out this form and i'll get in touch with you right away.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pic Tip #5

pic tip #5: how to take amazing landscape shots

i love how raw emotion can be captured in a photo
(taken in central TX when i was 15)

i usually focus my photography on people, but every now and then i like to branch out and go in search of the perfect landscape shot. the thing i love most about landscapes is that anyone with any camera can take a fantastic picture, plus they make great pieces of artwork for the home. there's something to be said for having artwork hanging on your walls that you created yourself. not to mention that having them blown up and fitting them into a thrift store vintage frame is so much cheaper than buying someone else's artwork and gives you such a sense of pride...but i digress.

back to the pic tip...

the biggest mistake most people (when i say most people, i mean me) make when taking landscape pics is not paying attention to the details. you see something pretty and you just snap the pic, but there's more to it than that.

there are 3 things i focus on when shooting landscapes: composition, lighting, and angles. when you're setting up to take your shot, you want to look for that something special that gives it visual interest, adding dimension and setting it apart from all the others.

to keep this simple, let's break it down to a few basic things you can look for when shooting landscapes:



















now that you have a some basic areas to focus on when shooting landscapes, that should give you a great foundation to start from. you don't need a fancy camera (as long as your pixel ratio is decent) or expensive editing software to take fantastic landscape photos! all you need is an eye for it and a sense of your own personal style!

also, if you haven't already, stop by three years down to enter the give-away, where i'm offering a set of 11x14 landscape prints while there's still time!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Have a Laugh...or 10

today is a lazy blogging day, so i thought i'd share some of my favorite funny quotes. i hope they brighten your day! enjoy!

  • “the early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” - unknown
  • “why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?” - unknown
  • “sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” - jerry seinfeld
  • ”never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” - erma bombeck
  • “when i die, i want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. not screaming like all the passengers in his car.” - will rogers
  • "a word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice." - bill cosby
  • "i am not afraid of death, i just don't want to be there when it happens." - woody allen
  • "i found there was only one way to look thin; hang out with fat people." - rodney dangerfield
  • "a bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it." - bob hope
  • "a positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." - herm albright

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Giveaway & a Freebie!

i'm taking part in a huge giveaway over at three years down! what's my contribution, you ask? a set of original 11x14 landscape prints by yours truly.

Photobucket Photobucket
others are giving away free ad space to promote your blog (if you win one and need help with a button, hit me up and i'll put something together for you), design, and a cup sleeve. so, head on over there (it's running for 6 more days) and enter to win!

and since everyone can't win, here's something for all of you...a free 8x10 printable, of course!

click here to download full version

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mack's Favorite Things: Baby Food Dispensing Spoon

the second item on mack's list is the boon squirt baby food dispensing spoon.

one word: GENIUS!

the first time i saw my friend using this little contraption with her baby a year ago, i swore i would buy one for mack when he arrived and i'm so glad i did! in fact, i bought three!

basically, this handy gadget acts as bowl and spoon at the same time. you fill the bulb of it with the baby food of your choice, screw on the spoon, and you're ready to feed!

things mack likes:
  • it releases air easily, so that the bulb doesn't go flat from suction.
  • it's dishwasher safe (on the top rack) and easy to clean, because it's a nonstick surface.
  • it comes in fabulous colors that match the colors in his nursery perfectly. ;)
  • one handed feeding! it is the perfect solution for grabby babies, because it allows mama to keep his hands under control.
  • it's easy to squeeze, which is surprising with how thick the material is.
  • the spoons have covers that make transporting them while filled easy.

things mack doesn't like:
  • the spoon is a little big for him, so it can get messy.
  • you have to squeeze slowly, otherwise it spurts and sprays a little bit of food.
  • the spoon covers are kind of tough to snap on.
the aftermath of mack's first experience with eating from a spoon

especially after having compared this particular spoon to another brand, the boon squirt baby food dispensing spoon gets two thumbs way up!

the opinions expressed here belong entirely to mack & carlia. neither was compensated in any way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Mini-Adventure

so. much. fun!

our surprise trip was to luray, virginia (in the shenandoah valley)! i love small town america, so this place was totally my scene.

we stayed in the beautiful mimslyn inn, a historic building, reminiscent of old plantation homes with its massive columns. it was established in 1931 and definitely takes you back in time when you walk through the doors. and i can't say enough good things about the staff. so friendly and even knew us by name!

the highlight of the trip had to be going to the luray caverns. one of our favorite things to do when we lived in utah was to hike up to timpanogas cave, which B knows i miss, so planning a trip to the caverns was a major hit.

my absolute favorite thing to see in the cave was the reflecting pool. it looks like an entire symmetrical room...or someplace you'd find on the moon:

here are my other favorite shots from our "spelunking" excursion:

it was such a beautiful sight! i am so glad we had the opportunity to go and i hope we get to go back soon (since it was only a 2 hour drive). if you haven't been and you ever get the chance, do it! even mack loved it! he was strapped to me in his bjorn just jabbering away for nearly the entire thing, until he finally fell asleep for the last 10 minutes of hour long tour.

especially for a first family trip, this was a huge success! we all had so much fun that i can't wait to go on another weekend getaway! i'm thinking...ocean city, maryland next time?
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