Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday 13: 2014 Etsy Halloween Finds

I tell you what, friends, I'm pretty happy to be back in blog-land!  It feels wonderful to be capturing and recording little snapshots of my life again.  I'm also extremely excited to do another Thursday 13; always one of my favorite posts to write up (lists are always great!).

Since tomorrow is Halloween and I adore Etsy, I thought I would peruse the site for Halloween items that should be in my collection.

1.  I'm not really one to wear holiday themed clothing but I would totally wear this black cat shirt.

Etsy shop

2.  These witch boots are wonderful!

Etsy shop

3.  Who couldn't use some spider garland in their home?

Etsy shop

4.  For some reason, I just love this little bloody eye muffin.  So weird but so cool.

Etsy shop

5.  Unfortunately this is just the pattern but this little Dracula doll is so cute he might be worth learning how to sew and such.

Etsy shop

6.  I adore this miniature cemetery set and it would work perfectly on my window sill.

Etsy shop

7.  A rib cage lamp?  Disturbing?  A little.  Perfect for Halloween?  Absolutely!

Etsy shop

8.  These black cat luminaries are so enchanting.

Etsy shop

9.  This quilt would be perfect to snuggle under while watching Halloween movies.

Etsy shop
Etsy shop

10.  We don't decorate our yard for holidays but I wouldn't mind having this witch and cauldron out front.

Etsy shop

11.  This spider headband would be fun to wear to work or someplace where a costume might be too much.

Etsy shop

12.  I love signs and this Broom Parking sign is so fun.  I even have a toad (with a broom!) that I could set by it.

Etsy shop

13.  This book folding pattern is amazing!  May be time for me to grab some old books from the library's used book sale to attempt some patterns!

Etsy shop

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Las Vegas, Day Three

Time to catch up on some vacation posts from February!

Mitch and I began day three in Las Vegas by hitting up two History Channel hot-spots.  Our first stop was the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, home of the show "Pawn Stars."  Not only was it cool to be in the store where the show is filmed (one of the few shows Mitch watches that I actually enjoy myself) but it was very interesting to see some of the items for sale (lots of history in there!).  For example, if you have an extra $95,000 laying around, you can purchase Johnny Cash's license.

Our next stop was Rick's Restorations.  We took a little tour of the different work areas and got to see some of the items that are waiting to be restored as well as some items that had been completed.  So many cool, retro items at the shop and the fact that they look brand new after Rick and his crew get done with them is absolutely incredible.  Apparently there is a two year waiting list for items to be restored; that is, unless you have something truly unique they want to put on the show.

Brettly and Mitch

After our television show location visits, we headed down the strip to the Stratosphere.  Did you know that the Stratosphere tower is the the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States?  I certainly didn't know that when I was standing over 1,000 feet above the nice, sturdy ground.  And I thought the 460 feet of the Eiffel Tower got my heart racing and palms sweating!

The views were certainly breathtaking (or maybe that was just me hyperventilating).

As if the height itself wasn't enough, Mitch decided he needed to get my heart rate up even more by riding all three rides the Stratosphere had to offer and then to top things off by jumping off the tower.  You know, it's no big deal free-falling 829 feet; a descent from the 108th floor!

Landing pad

That evening, Mitch and I took it easy on the adrenaline rushes (yes, I count the mini panic attack I had looking out the window of the Stratosphere as an adrenaline rush!) and headed back to the Luxor to visit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.  This exhibit shed a whole new light on one of the world's most famous shipwrecks; I highly recommend visiting if you have the opportunity.  I've always found this piece of history to be interesting but seeing actual artifacts recovered from the wreckage was a very moving experience.

We saw a huge variety of awesome items from all areas of the ship (unfortunately cameras were not allowed in the exhibit so no photos to share), from silverware and toiletries, floor tiles and windows,  to what many consider the crown jewel of the collection: "The Big Piece."  "The Big Piece" is the largest Titanic artifact ever recovered; a 26 foot long, 15 ton piece of the Titanic's hull.  Definitely an incredible feeling to stand next to a piece of history like that.

In addition to artifacts, the exhibit also featured replicas of the grand staircase (so beautiful and elegant); the promenade deck where you could hear waves crashing, look at a starry sky, and feel the cold evening air; and the third-class and first-class rooms (what an insane difference between the two types of accommodations!).

At the beginning of the exhibit, guests receive a "boarding pass" that contains the name and a brief summary - age and itinerary - of an actual passenger that boarded the Titanic back in 1912.  At the end of the tour, guests find out if that person survived by finding the name on the memorial wall.  The boarding pass I received was that of a first-class woman traveling with her father in search of perfumes for their business; she survived but her father did not.  The boarding pass Mitch received was that of a third-class male traveling with a friend; neither he nor his friend survived.  It was mind-blowing to see how few people survived this tragedy and how important class was in determining which lives were worth saving.

To read about the first two days of our trip, head here (Day 1) and here (Day 2) and stay tuned for Day 4!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Mish-Mash

Here we are in the last week of October!  Can you believe Saturday brings the eleventh month of the year?  This year is sure flying!

Here's a mish-mash of snapshots from my life this month:

1.  We've had a gorgeous October here in North Dakota.

The weather has been warm and mild overall; we couldn't have asked for a better fall season.

And the nice weather means more quality time on family evening walks.

2.  I have been using Instagram for quite some time for the filters and frames.   Around mid-August, I decided to actually start posting photos to my account and following other accounts.  Somehow I stumbled upon a huge Cavalier King Charles Spaniel community; my account quickly became all about Crickett and 99% the accounts I began following were dog accounts.  It's so much fun interacting with other people who are as obsessed with their pups as I am with mine.  I'm currently debating whether I should open another account for myself, a place to post "non-Crickett" photos and follow "non-dog" folk!

3.  I'd been in a bit of a thrifting slump in regards to finding good items (or even good priced items) during my spring and summer outings but earlier this month my luck changed.  I walked away with some great finds at great prices.  Thirteen dollars total for a dress ($3 after a coupon!  Can you believe a thrift store has coupons?!), sweater, and two shirts!  Pretty pleased with myself!

4.  Speaking of slumps, I can't seem to figure out what to do with The House of Sand and Fog.  I started reading the novel back in June and made it to page 211 before I had to quit and move on to other (good!) books.  I feel like I'm too far into the novel to quit but I find the writing extremely boring and repetitive and I don't like any of the characters or really care what happens to them.  I'm curious to know how the book concludes but I know I could easily find that information online and save myself the time and agony that reading this novel requires.  Stay tuned for my decision! (I know you're sitting at the edge of your seat!)

5.  Several big home improvement projects going on around here.  After spending a good chunk of time staining the fence this summer, Mitch has moved into the house with a paintbrush.  I haven't reported much on the progress of our basement but, long story short, it has been dry-walled, textured, and now we are on to the painting phase.  I'm pretty excited about all the colors we've chosen and will post an update once the rooms have been completed.

6.  Mitch purchased our 2014 Hallmark Keepsake Christmas ornament (I will post a photo once it's actually time for it to be displayed) and we are currently on the hunt for a new Christmas tree.  I better decide soon since the day after Thanksgiving - aka: Holly's time to start decorating for Christmas - will be here before I know it!

 7.  And last, but not least, Mitch and I have booked our 2015 vacation!  We will be enjoying ourselves on an Alaskan cruise come May!  So very exciting!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Book Sale 2014

Fourteen dollars left my pocket but 17 books came home with me last Thursday after the library's used book sale (that's 82 cents per book, my friends!).  I'm very excited about my finds and can't wait to get started on them; it's going to be difficult which of them to read first!

As always, here is the list of my purchases:

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian.  I loved Midwives but didn't make it very far into Before You Know Kindness so I'm curious to see where this one ranks.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler.  I think this book has the potential to be very interesting!

The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass.  This novel was already on my to read list and I didn't even realize that when I bought it.  I obviously think this book sounds good if I've chosen it on two separate occasions.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  I've read this book and it ended up on my all-time favorites list so I had to bring it home when I saw it.  If you haven't yet read this novel, I highly recommend it.

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  Another novel already on my list of books to read.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  I've read this book but, like The Kite Runner, it made it onto my favorites list and I had to bring it home with me.

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold.  I enjoyed The Lovely Bones so it will be nice to read something else by this author.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Another book already on my list of books to read.

A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve.  I've been collecting Shreve's novels over the last couple of book sales but I have yet to read any of them.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Badge and a Birthday

Tuesday was a very special day for me and my family.

After six years as a patrolman, Mitch earned a promotion to Sergeant.  Not only did he receive a Sergeant's badge, but it was the badge his dad had when he was a Sergeant at the police department.  I couldn't imagine a a more special way to acknowledge this promotion.  I'm so proud to be part of this family of blue.  Congrats, Mitch!

The other big event of the day was my mom's 60th birthday!  I can't wrap my head around the fact that my parents are both 60 years old; when I was younger 60 seemed so old but my parents don't seem old at all (one of the reasons they are kinda sorta cool)!  To celebrate, my parents, sister, Mitch, and I went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants then to my parents' house for homemade peach pie (my mom is a wonderful baker) and presents.  It was a lovely evening.  Happy Birthday, Mom!  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hello, October

Why hello, October, where did you come from?!  Where did September go?!  (And August, too, based on my lack of posting!)

I have no excuse for not writing other than pure laziness.  I think about my blog often - almost daily -  and I really do miss it but I just can't seem to get myself here.  I've been easily distracted with such things as Pinterest and Instagram; these apps provide instant gratification and require very little work from me.  However, when I come here and realize all the memories - both good and bad - that I haven't recorded, my heart breaks a little.  I started this blog as a way to "scrapbook" my life and lately I've left a lot of pages empty.  I know I've said it before and I'll probably say it again, but I'm going to try and turn this around.  My life is not glamorous or exciting by any means but I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything; it's time I start documenting all those things that make it mine.