Monday, April 30, 2012

Central Florida Lady Bloggers

Yay!  I just found out earlier today that there's a Facebook page for a group called the Central Florida Lady Bloggers and I'm excited!  I found them on through a link from a pin on Pinterest and they look awesome!  They have events and regular meet-ups and meet each other in person and go to regional blogging conferences and everything!  I "Liked" their page and now I totally want to go to their next meetup and see what everyone does, what they blog about, who they are, what they want to get out of their blogging.  I'm wondering if there are the same sorts of groups in other states.  Fellow lady bloggers, let me know!  If you're a lady blogger and you're in one of these groups, say hi and let me know what you like about them!

Happy Blogging!

Allie H.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Renewing Your Vows, Hollywood Style

I cannot bring myself to read MSNBC entertainment sectionals anymore.  For one, they're half full of the people I don't want to hear about.  They run stories about people who are famous merely for their ability to be drunk and seriously trashy on very barely edited television.  Television that people are happy to purchase in their cable packages.  It's labeled an international incident whenever some "celebrity" spills their coffee across the street from a well-established paparazzi corner.  It's appalling.  

Today, my weekend "forehead smack" read?  Mariah Carey.  She just completed renewing her vows.  Which is a sweet, beautiful ceremony and a testimony to the number of years that you've been married.  If you've been married for 30, 40, 50 years.  She's just renewed her vows for the fourth time.  She's been married for four years. So she's said "I Do" five times, with a new wedding inspired gown and a strategically placed professional photographer every time .  Some people say it's romantic, keeping the moment alive, Me  (married now for close to two years and solid in the knowledge that I married the one for me), I've got to think it's a screaming testimonial to her personal insecurity in her marriage and commitment to a younger man that hasn't been in the entertainment industry as long as she has been.  I could be wrong.  But my husband and I say "I love you" to each other more than once a day, we try to make the time to share at least one meal together as he's working full+time, we know what's going on in each other's day, and we have the same shared future goals concerning kids, retirement, and soon-to-be-purchased furniture.  We try to have an adventure now that we've pledged our love to each other, and it works for us.  That should be enough for most people, super-famous and rich, or not.   Thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Can't We All Be a Bit More Crafty? And Notes on Anthropologie...

By now I'm sure we all know I've got a terrible addiction to Pinterest, looking at all the pretty pictures of food I want to make (which will be much easier due to the fact that I'm back to reading grocery store labels in English and can get large quantities of cheap basics), and all the pretty shoes and clothes that I would die for.  I'm also looking at everyone posting all these clothing options from places like Anthropologie and others, and I'm asking myself why I would pay $100+ for something that looks like I could make it for $30, tops.  (Also, I look at the clothes, specifically from Anthro, and I've decided that they throw back to the 70's a lot, with much better results in mixing colors and patterns.  Some of their stuff is just garish with no hope of my ever purchasing it.  I'm glad I didn't live my teenage years back then...yikes.)  I'm into DIY, I want to do more "DIY" and the fact that I'm back to a country where I can find craft supplies in more than two aisles of an entire department store makes me very happy.  I also want to sew!!  I was a year and a half without a sewing machine but we are back in the states and I'm sending for mine from home.  Being in super-sunny, humid Florida makes me want to tear into all my up-cycled t-shirt books but I'm not really one for hand-sewing, especially when there's a lot of it to be done.  So I'm planning on projects!  
I also ran across this website where this gal posts pictures luxurious (and luxuriously priced) celebrity outfits and where to shop to "find the look for less" touted for those of us who are "on a budget."  We should ALL be on a budget when it comes to most clothing.  I'll admit key pieces, like my anniversary boots, wonderfully hand-made in Italian leather, are worth the price tag.  But two pieces of fabric, sheer and liner, pieced into a short cocktail dress?  There's no reason it should cost your rent payment. This also makes me wonder if we're too dependent on celebrities to tell us what to wear because personally, some of the shouldn't be wearing the things they're wearing.  Hmmmm...this may be another topic for another topic for another blog post....Hmmm, indeed.
Point being, if I know I can make a top for $20 that I could otherwise buy for $90, why aren't more people realizing it and doing it themselves?  If it's a very basic-style garment, which most of these are, the patterns for them can be found everywhere online by people who have graciously posted them along with their tips to a better sewing experience, or of course, in a sewing store where they sell them and you can keep going back to you what know will end up in your size.  I know not everyone has a sewing machine, but everyone at least has someone in their family who might have one, or might be willing to teach you how to sew.  Sewing used to be a very important skill back in the 1600's and 1700's when we didn't have this lovely thing called electricity and so it was all done by hand until the treadle sewing machine came along.  With the advances we've made in technology, making a sewing machine do a perfect straight stitch and all, and all the "Activities for Dummies" volumes out there, what used to take all day can be done in 2 hours or less. Why are we willing to let ourselves spend money for one garment that we could instead spend to make 3 or 4 from larger garments, swaths of fabric, treasure linens from second-hand stores in the form of old sheets and tablecloths?  (I know, I know, it's all very old draperies ala The Sound of Music, but it's very, very do-able!)  
If making a garment more fashionable (to whoever's idea of fashion) only takes adding a sheer or lacy overlay, raising the hem or lowering the neckline, why aren't we all attempting to do it on our own, with or without some book or mentor-given  guidance?  In the future, if we need to cut some pants into shorts capris because we've worn out the hems, it'll be that much easier to do and you'll still have a pair of pants that you bought because they fit you so perfectly in the hips and the waist and hopefully, your ass isn't falling out of them.  (Side note: Pet peeve, ladies and gentlemen.  Please, don't wear slightly baggy lycra-denim pants and then a thong so that we can all see multiple inches of butt when you bend down or over to pick something up.  Or merely sit in a chair.  Not being able to see butt crack is worse only next to seeing most of your bare butt in the first place.)  
Back to my point!  It's really not that hard, and you can make the garment you want, in the color or print you want, in the exact size you need, and you're not laying down extra green in order to do so.  (Unless you go out and purchase a sewing machine for yourself, in which case it will eventually pay for itself.  You don't need a fancy one with a digital interface with a billion different types of stitches.  A basic one with everything you really need will run you less than $150.)  
So get out there, ladies! DIY! Don't spend all your money on something that you really could do yourself, and pick up a valuable skill while you're at it.
Happy Fashioning-for-Less!

Allie H.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My 2012 off to a great start!

We've only been here just under a month but being in a new state, back on home soil, has kick-started my 2012 list of doing things that are new to me! Here we go, so far:

*First time in Miami. (First time in Florida, for that matter!)
*First time ever eating conch.  You know conch-shells?  Apparently while they're still in the ocean, they house snail-like critters and they are very tasty when battered and fried and served with various dipping sauces.
*First Beer Bar Membership at World of Beer. (They give you a dollar discount per dog-labeled beer on Tuesdays if you bring your dog!)
*First time driving a Kia Sedona (our rental car from the airport.)
*First time driving a Range Rover! (The car we're acquiring.  Plenty of room for beach chairs and a mini BBQ, Costco runs and more.)
*First time with an assigned parking spot in our rental agreement (that we're actually using!)
*First time staying at a Air B&B accommodation (our temporary home while finding an apartment while finding a place the first week we were in town.)
*First time living in an apartment complex that has a pool (that I've actually used!) 

We're planning to see a few basketball games for the Miami Heat, maybe a hockey game or two, and this would be the perfect place for me to get my scuba-diving certification!  Stay tuned...We've got a lot of new things to do here : )  What has everyone else done for the first time this year? Please share!
Happy New (Experiences!)


Allie H.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hello Miami!!

After a long flight, a quick week in a B&B with rental car from the airport and Kris's almost first two weeks of his new job under his belt (with an impressive 67 hours his first week to dive in and make some incredible progress!) we are settled in (without boxes of course, but they're coming!)  We got in late Friday the 23rd, got our bags, got our rental, got Chloe out of her carrier, and got to SLEEP! : )  The first weekend was all about exploring...we were dying to see the ocean so headed to Biscayne Key to walk along the beach, and then to South Miami to stare at some gorgeous sail boats and randomly run across the best burger joint in Miami where they do make some of the most incredible burgers and suggest beer-pairings to go along with them. It was fantastic!  We got ourselves acquainted with the area, Chloe got x-rays and sadly her foot is still broken and in need of at least six more weeks of healing time in the splint.  We found Costco (yay!) and got our new membership, both there and at this lovely bar called World of Beers that's right near the apartment building where we found an apartment in  less than a week that's right next to (almost) Kris's new work building!  When the apartment deity smiles on us, he smiles BIG!  We found a 2/2 (2 bed, 2 bath) in a building where we have a stacking washer/dryer in our unit, a gorgeous swimming pool and small hot tub and moderate gym, and where all utilities are included in rent except for electricity.  We score.  We're in this little neighborhood that has EVERYTHING! A major chain grocery store called Publix that's akin to Safeway, a handful of restaurants, a furniture store, a mall across the street, a strip-mall across the street behind our complex, a metro station and major bus station right behind our building, another mall (with Target!) that's a metro stop away, a Animal Hospital right down the street.....I could go on, but you get the picture.  When we look for places to live, we do extremely well.  It's like a little city all to ourselves and everyone else who lives here.  
Kris has jumped into work, I've been totally acclimating to the neighborhood and Chloe's adjusting very well to her hew apartment and the new smells and new people who have to be convinced that she did, in fact, actually try to break up a bar fight in Switzerland and got stomped on to break her foot.  They finally believe us and then suddenly she's the toughest, bravest dog in the world!  I'm convinced that she's a huge faker...When I leave her for a while to get groceries or coffee I listen on the way back, and do not hear her crying until I turn the key in the lock and then she comes running to the door all worked up, whimpering and excited...she's adjusting VERY well.  I can leave her for almost an hour to go to the pool and get a few laps and some sun in (I'm trying to tan before I burn!) and she does well on her own for a bit.  I'm hoping that if I decide to work that it'll be that much more easily adjustable for her.  
We are so excited to be here, to be back by the ocean, to be back in the States, to learn Spanish (for Kris, I've got some major brushing-up to do) to be way closer to our friends and family for us to visit them and vice-versa.  We're not planning on going anywhere for a few years! Living abroad was so fabulous but we're looking forward to getting settled here for a while, keeping on with our plan to find our dream sailboat, taking vacations to the tropics and exploring before we take off and run away to live in them.  But being back Stateside for awhile is going to be great!
Happy (re) Settling!

Allie H.