Thursday, July 30, 2009

To Go Or Not To Go

I went out with some old friends from high school last night. One of these friends you've heard of before, Ruthie. The other was Margaret. Ruthie and I haven't kept up with Margaret the way we have with each other, so the reminiscing overtook talk of current happenings in our lives. We had thirty years to cover.

On the calendar, in pencil, is my 30th high school reunion. It's scheduled for September. I still have yet to decide if I will be attending. Ruthie and Margaret are pretty much on board.

I've heard a rumor that one of my best friends in high school was so traumatized by the ordeal that is adolescent education she disappeared and has not desired contact with anyone connected with that era of her life. On the other end of the spectrum there's a girl (well, woman now) who has to connect with everyone from high school on Facebook and has kept tabs on the comings and goings of all her classmates throughout the years.

High school wasn't horrible for me, nor was it the pinnacle of my life. It just was. There were some fun times and not so fun times. The thing is, it seems people revert back to their high school roles during and event like this. The cliquey people will be on one side of the room and the nerdy losers will be on the other. Perhaps I project my own insecurities and am myself reverting to a time when I didn't have much confidence.

The bottom line, going to a reunion for the first time after all these years seems kind of like going back, something in which I have no interest. Maybe if I didn't have something pressing the following day I could take a little stroll down memory lane and show those cliquey cheerleaders how a homely nerdy girl can turn out okay. And I could take my time and make an entire evening of catching up and reminiscing rather than having to race off to an early bedtime.

I think I've made the decision. Now I'll just have to get Ruthie and Margaret to take pictures of everyone. We've got to have something to talk about over the next Cosmo!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friend Me, Fan Me, Follow Me On Twitter

Where did the summer go? Oh, I know we're just in the midst of it, but I'm already shopping for fall/winter/holiday candle fragrances. Seems like Christmas is right around the corner!

In the news, I was recently featured on the HandmadeMN blog. You can read the interview here. It makes me feel so...famous.

Also new for me are Facebook pages and a Twitter account. I resisted as long as I could, but now I'm kind of into it. Still have a lot to learn and so many more friends to find in the sea of millions.

Click on the links on the right side bar to Friend me and/or Fan me in Facebook and to Follow me on Twitter.

I'd also like to send a mid-year word of thanks for all the support you've given me. Gloria, Rhonda, and Lori, you've been keeping me busy with your latest requests, and Lord knows I need something to keep me out of trouble. And to all of you other internet shoppers and craft show browsers, thanks for stopping by, looking, laughing, oohing and ahhing, and finding from my selections those special gifts or treats for yourself.

Before I get too verklempt I'm going to head to the studio and pour some Spruce Tree candles. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Did You Know? Shop Categories

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are like me who look in the middle of the screen when browsing on the computer to avoid some pretty obnoxious ads on various websites. I've trained myself to ignore the flashing ads at the top and around the sides of the blog post, article, or e-mail I'm trying to read. But because of the tunnel vision I've developed, I tend to miss interesting and sometimes vital information on the sidebars of sites without intrusive ads.

Take my Etsy shop...anyone's Etsy show for that matter. Did you know there is a much easier way to shop for what you want without scrolling through page after page of listings from a buyer? It's true!

Right now I have sixty items in my shop. Compared to other shops on Etsy, I'm pretty tiny. But even so, scrolling through sixty items can be a somewhat time-consuming job, and we all know computers are supposed to save us time. Here's where it gets fun. When you're at a shop's front page, look to the right. Dont's worry, you won't find some ad showing an animated belly flubbering around trying to sell you weight loss pills. What will be there, over on the right, is a list of categories the seller has created to make your shopping experience more efficient.

Using my shop as an example: The first page of my shop (any every page for that matter) contains a little bit of everything I sell. If a buyer comes to the shop and sees a candle she likes and a bunch of bottle cap magnets that she's not interested in, she might not feel like going through many pages to find more candles. That's where the seller's categories come in. You just look to the right and you'll see how the seller has categorized all of the items for sale. If my buyer wants to look only at candles in my shop, she just needs to click on the Candles section and only candles will come up on her screen.

Not only does this area show categories, but also how many items are contained in that section. So the lady who wants to look at my candles can look through twelve candles rather than sifting through sixty items of things she might not even be interested in.

Jewelry sellers could categorize by earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Photographers could categorize their work by subject matter. And it's all in an effort to give you a stress-free shopping experience.

So even if you're like me and avoid the sides of the computer screen so you don't have to look at those most hideous stretchmark ads, be sure to look to the categories section next time you're shopping on Etsy. It will save you tons of time and might even help you find something you didn't even know you were looking for.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Auntie B Supports Our Troops

She's strong. She's courageous. She's even a little bit minxy.
And she's available at the shop now.

What's Your Interior Style?

I thought this was an interesting little quiz. Click and drag pictures rather than choosing pre-written answers. And be completely honest. I took the quiz twice. The first time, in one of the questions, I chose a book title over the TV remote. The results given for all my answers were repulsive to me. When I went back to retake the quiz, keeping all my answers the same except choosing the remote this time, the resulting style was much more to my liking.

My style personality is High Street Classic. Here's what that means:

Rich and luxurious objects appeal to you. Your home is a temple to all you love. Beloved memories fill your home. You balance function wtih excess. You enjoy the finer things in life. Trends are integrated in your home.

I don't know how on the mark that really is, but it's fun anyway. What's your style personality?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Slap Chop Rap

As a member of the middle-aged community I'm happy to be able to present a profanity-free rap video. This is so cool it got me bopping my head and doing a groovy little chair dance. Coming soon as an infomercial near you.

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Resistance Is Futile

I either have to take a class or go back to the dark ages because I simply cannot figure this Facebook stuff out. Actually, the whole social networking thing has got me stumped.

A) It's taking way too much of my time trying to figure it out.

B) I speculate that even if I did get it all figured out I would spend way too much time tending to the site(s) and not enough time tending to the things in life that really matter.

I figured out the blogging thing, but I'm working at a pretty unskilled level. I have no idea how to personalize my template or other fancy things others have on their blogs.

It's a conundrum. Do I simply go about life as I always have, about which I've been perfectly happy for many years, or do I go over to the dark side and spend the rest of my days electronically connected to the world? OK, in my case I won't actually be connected, but I'll be driving myself to an early grave trying to figure out how to be. Not being connected is the way of the past and I could surely be passed by. Being constantly connected makes me feel really claustrophobic.

It clearly sounds like I want to be unplugged, which brings on the next question: Do I want to be unplugged because being quiet and invisible makes me happy or because I simply cannot learn how to be plugged and make it work for me?

For today I'm going to remain unplugged. Charlotte and I are playing our first game of tennis this summer. We won't have our cell phones on and we won't talk about it on our Facebook pages. We also won't tell anyone where we're playing (Ruthie!) so no one can come and watch us do our sorry Billy Jean King and Chrissy Everett imitations.

How about you? Are you willing to be unplugged? Join me.

Don't be Borg!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Busy Weekends

So much going on these days. Seems it’s been a month since I’ve been able to sit and write about anything. Hey, it has been about that long.

First of all there was the Chateau St. Croix Fetes Des Fleurs Festival. Husby and I love going to that show. The crowds are always fun, the vendors are fabulous, the owners and staff of the winery are spectacular, and of course there is wine aplenty. Weather for the festival was less than desired. Saturday was hot. Like, Africa hot. (Name that movie.) The sun was dang near blistering. I got a lot of questions about how that kind of heat would affect my candles. The beeswax got a little sticky but there was no out and out melting. It would have to be about 130 degrees for that to happen and we didn’t get near that temperature. Sunday it rained all day long. I mean it rained. All…day…long. A gust of wind blew over one of my drink charm displays, but there was no serious damage. Yep, the weather was less than desired, but guess what? My sales were fabulous! Even though it seemed the crowds were less than last year and the weather was really really hot and really really rainy, I was very happy to see those who came enjoyed my booth.

Sunday (the rainy day) also gave all of the vendors a chance to peek more deeply into the other booths. There was a lot of bartering going on. What a great way to decrease inventory and gain other beautiful things. I made a couple of deals myself. I’m glad to see that not only the shoppers but also fellow artisans find my items to be something of value, beauty, or happiness. I certainly admired what they had to show.

The next weekend we attended a small family reunion at my aunt and uncle’s house in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. Mikey loves to throw a party and the gathering was centered around the Outdoor Yard Game Olympics. We played rounds of beanbag toss, golf-balls-on-string toss, and Jarts. It was pretty obvious Husby and I are really bad at games that require aim. Paenney and Fojo were the big winners. Go figure, they’re the youngest with the most fit bodies and the best eyesight.

Fourth of July weekend was spent at the family cottage. There were a few chores to be done, but for the most part we just celebrated the holiday. Charlotte and her family took charge of putting on a spectacular fireworks show for us and the rest of the lake. Fojo, Paenney, Pinky, and my dad spent a lot of time fishing, hoping to land a big muskie, happy to catch bass and perch. We also had a big water war where Fojo and Paenney win again. All I got out of the deal was a lot of water splashed on me and a bit of a sunburn on my nose, shoulders, and back. Summertime fun.

Monday evening I decided to just be tired and turn off all compulsion to catch up on housework. I sat back and watched Amityville Horror in its entirety. Funny how a movie with such bad dialog can suck you in nevertheless. Nothing like a house whose walls bleed to make for a relaxing evening.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Movies

Things are looking up in the movie world. Well, I can't really say they've been looking poorly, but there really hasn't been anything I've considered worth seeing in a while.

Husby and I saw Up, which was a great escape to the drudgery of everyday life. It made me want to get out there and try something completely insane and wacky. It's a wonderful movie (what Pixar movie isn't?) about true love, friendship, good and evil, adventure, and all the other makings of a fairytale. Oh, and if you can, do the 3D thing. It costs more to rent the glasses, but it's totally cool - like watching a moving View Master reel.

Other than Up, nothing really captured my attention. Until...

Being enamored with bloggers (I'm much better reading them than writing them) I knew all about the girl who did the Julia Child blog, giving a chronical of her year making hundreds of recipes from the Julia Child cookbook. Guess what? They're making a movie of it. Both Julie (blogger) and Julia (chef, or is she "just" a cook?) are taking center stage. Two completely different lives and how one had an enormous impact on another, and how both were based in food. And what could be better than Meryl Streep playing Julia Child? Sadly, I'm unable to embed the trailer for the movie Julie & Julia, but you can see it on YouTube here. Should be hitting the theaters in August, just in time for a birthday date for me!

Lastly, I heard rumors about Johnny Depp and Tim Burton working on a project together, but never dreamed it could be so magical as this...

Alice In Wonderland! Apparently it will be out in March, 2010. I will be eagerly awaiting it's release. Being a true fairytale, the story of Alice has all the creepiness an old-fashioned children's story should have. Tim Burton is so talented in how he makes fantasies even more surreal than they actually are, and Johnny Depp, well, if anyone can play a character, especially a make-believe one, it would be him.

So looking forward to these movies. What's your favorite one these days?

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