Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Identification, Please.

Hop aboard my time machine! I'm takin' it back to 1989 or so. I'm guessing that's about the time I got this:

It's my ID bracelet from elementary school -- kindergarten, I think! My name, address, home phone number, and birthdate are stamped on the back. My sister and I still have our matching ID bracelets, and sometimes, we still wear them. What? You can't wear your childhood ID bracelets when you're 28 and 32? Says who? Now that handmade, handstamped jewelry is all the rage, it is clear that my parents are the epitome of fashion forward.

I used to wear mine in college, mixed with whatever my favorite bracelets were at the time. Most girls at my school had Tiffany's, but I think my bracelet is way cooler than their cookie cutter heart-shaped bracelets. Right? RIGHT?!

Also, my parents still live at the same address and have the same phone number, so in the case of an emergency, they can still be reached! My sister posted her bracelet on Facebook a few months ago, and it gave me the urge to wear mine again. I've been wearing it since December 29 and have only taken it off for these pictures and to go through airport security for our Leavenworth trip. I'm takin' this to the grave!

Did you have one of these ID bracelets when you were a kid?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Most Expensive Ribbon is Not Always the Nicest

I will bet you my weekend was more interesting than yours. It included the most expensive three feet of ribbon on the planet. Just when we thought Boone had his fill of medical emergencies, that little adventurer proved us otherwise.

Boone is a spry, wee lad these days. He is almost seven weeks post-op, and just this morning, he jumped onto our bed when my alarm clock went off this morning! We have a mighty tall bed, so it is safe to say that he is gettin' his hops back. He independently regained range of motion, but it has been up to us to exercise his muscles. For the last couple of weeks, we have been able to entice him up and down the stairs with four feet of ribbon. Even Amelie has joined the fun. Last weekend, I found the ribbon laying on the floor--chewed up and with three feet of it missing. I searched and searched but couldn't find the missing ribbon. I told Mr. TBS that he had a new hiding place and that we'd probably find ribbon when our next moving day came.

Fast forward to last Friday night. Mr. TBS had just gone to bed, I was watching a video on Hulu, and Boone started hacking up a hair ball. There's no stopping it. You have to let them throw it up. He vomited, took a couple steps, and started again, as they usually do. (Yo, cats. Can you stay in one place, please? Clean up would be a lot easier. Thanks.) This time, whatever was coming up, didn't make a complete exit. I knew not to pull on anything, because it could do more harm than good, so I quickly grabbed scissors and snipped it off.

That missing ribbon?
Yeah, it was coming out of his mouth.

Realizing that his new hiding place was actually his stomach, I was overcome with all sorts of parental anxiety. I knew we would have to see a vet in the morning, but I was worried that he might choke on ribbon or that the ribbon would obstruct his intestine. Have you ever Googled "what to do if my cat swallows ribbon?" It might as well have looked up "cough" on WebMD and self-diagnosed an aortic aneurysm. Also, I had no idea that it is common for cats to swallow ribbon, floss, shoelaces, string, and needle and thread. Boone is my sixth cat, and I have never experienced this!

I went to bed at 3:15 a.m. Saturday morning and stayed with Boone all night. He was fine. Playing with toys, chasing Amelie.

As Mr. TBS and I were ten minutes from heading out the door to the animal E.R. later that morning, I made another exciting discovery. The ribbon was now seeing its way out the other end. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. The ribbon was now exiting Boone's tush! What the... It was an interesting morning:

An hour and a half in the animal E.R.
An x-ray of the evidence inhabiting his little tummy.
Sedation of Boone to remove three feet of ribbon... from the rear.
The kind vet who so generously brought the ribbon out to us for Show & Tell.
(Really, you shouldn't have. *gag*)

We're happy he didn't have to go through another surgery, but wow. That stupid three feet of ribbon cost us $350! It just goes to show you that the most expensive ribbon is not always the nicest. I'm sure you can understand why this post does not include any pictures.

Upon leaving, Mr. TBS said to the receptionist, "Well, thank you for your help. Please don't take offense, but I hope we don't have to see you again. We really don't want to make monthly visits to this place." Amen, brutha.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The American Girl Pose

I would like to dedicate this post to Ryan.  He called me out for doing the American girl "hand on chest" pose twice in my Leavenworth recap.  His gorgeous love is also a perpetrator, and it boggles his European mind.

To Ryan: If you're looking for the #1 offender, it's Megan.  She has an alternative but doubts the buy-in.  I think she's right.

To those in a relationship with an American woman: If it bothers you, remember that it's our body language for "I love you."

To my American friends: Do you pose like this too?  Has anyone ever commented about it?

If you read this blog and are not an American, what other Americanisms boggle your mind?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A City Girl's Guide to Visiting the Snow

When I was 18, my boyfriend called me high maintenance, because I wore make-up (and he was terrible with words, obviously).  To understand why this statement is ludicrous, you should know that when I was 18, my make-up consisted of three things: powder, concealer, and mascara.  I guess I can't blame him.  He doesn't have sisters, and his mom is as adventurous and outdoorsy as they come.  Needless to say, every time this avid skier and camper took me home to North Lake Tahoe, CA, during college, I got an outdoors education.  We camped with no tent.  I learned to ski.  We hiked around Emerald Bay.  We jumped off a boat in the middle of the lake and swam back to his house on the shore.  (Come to think of it, this totally sounds like a chick flick.)  You'd have to ask him to get the final word, but I think this city girl held her own pretty well out there.

While I was in Leavenworth, I thought about all the funny advice I would give to other city girls who have never visited the snow.  Not city snow--real mountain snow.  So here it is:

  1. Wear water-proof shoes or boots with fairly good treads unless slipping around on sidewalks and streets is something you fancy.
  2. Also, walk in shorter strides.
  3. Multiple thin layers are better than one thick coat.
  4. Beware of yellow snow.  It is not a spilled lemonade slurpee.
  5. Don't waste your time trying to style your hair perfectly in the morning.  Hoods, hats, and scarves will mess it up, so just do whatever is easiest.
  6. If you can pack your essentials like ID, credit card, lip balm, and cell phone in your jacket pockets, ditch the purse.  It will become a nuisance, especially when you want to play in the snow.
  7. Keep a travel Kleenex pack in your jacket pocket.
  8. If you are visiting with the love of your life, don't expect to hold hands while walking around in 20-degree weather.  Your fingers will be cold, and you'll want them in your pockets instead.  No one's feelings will be hurt, because he/she will probably want to do the same thing.
  9. Don't walk onto frozen lakes unless you know without a doubt that you're with a George Bailey, and even then, I strongly advise against it.
  10. Consume endless amounts of hot cocoa and comfort food and be glad that you can wear a jacket all the time to hide your ever-growing belly.
  11. Pack simply.  All you need for day-time clothes are leggings, tank tops, pants/jeans, long-sleeved shirts, scarves, water-proof jacket, thick socks, boots.
  12. If you are walking through public parks, be mindful of dog poop.
  13. Do not walk past fresh snow without making a snow angel.  (Please refer to #4 and #11.)
  14. Have fun.  Be silly.  
  15. Have a snowball fight, preferably with someone you know.

I know, I know.  This advice just saved your life.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quote Boards

Did you keep quote boards in high school and college?  Not inspirational tidbits, but boards full of inside jokes and silly things your friends said.  Friends of mine had whiteboards, butcher paper-wrapped tables, and chalkboards.  Some of them wrote directly onto a wall in their rented house (which was promptly painted over upon moving out).  I laugh when I think about all the wildly inappropriate things we wrote down, because we thought we were so grown up and witty.  Today, I'm making this blog my quote board of recent social media happenings.


Cory and I lived together in Los Angeles many moons ago.  One day while I was out with our other roommate, I got a text message about a random act in the hallway.  Ian and I couldn't wait to find out what this random act was when we got home.  (Naked person?  Clown show?  It was LA, after all.)  We found out that she meant "cat."  Someone's cat was roaming the halls.  It was not nearly as exciting as we had hoped.

Also, Cory's Facebook status updates would make the best blog in the entire universe.

Right on the money.  Does anyone else's parents keeps tabs on them via blog?

This is the most anticlimactic moving announcement ever, right?.  It doesn't even have an exclamation point, but I immediately started receiving responses of "Oooh, what's up there?" and "That'll be a change" and "Have a fun new adventure!"  It's really awkward when you have to set the record straight and explain that it was just a forward-thinking, wishful comment.  I'm not moving, guys.  And when I do, I'll show a little more enthusiasm.  Come on.  Homegirl can do better than that!

(Other than the egregious grammatical errors...) THIS IS EVERYTHING.

You heard it here first.  My new niece or nephew shall be called Mac or Millie.  
(The names are derived from my sister and BIL's last name.)
The parents do not have a say in the matter.  

Moral of the story: If I love you, I reserve the right to name your child.  
As evidenced above, I'm really good at choosing baby names.

Did you and your friends keep quote boards back in the day?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Getaway: Leavenworth, Washington

It all started with a top ten list on two years ago -- possibly top ten small towns or top ten B&Bs.  I can't remember the subject matter, but I do remember falling in love with a Bavarian themed town called Leavenworth in the state of Washington.  Mr. TBS and I have talked about it ever since.  It was love at first... Yahoo article.

After some resourceful planning and necessary purchases (Remember those new boots and jacket?), we were on our way.  Since all of our past out-of-state trips together were for specific reasons like a wedding or apartment hunting and we didn't have a honeymoon, this was our first Just Because trip!  I made a conscious effort to soak up our time, so I ditched social media and blogging for five days.  I even neglected the camera a lot of the time.  It was worth it to come home with few photos but with a deeper enjoyment of our trip.

Our favorite part was dinner at King Ludwig's -- authentic German cuisine and live accordion music.  We thought it necessary to text a photo of Mr. TBS drinking beer to my parents.  His drinking days ended long before we started dating, so none of us had ever seen him drink.  He always said that he would throw back some beer when we traveled to Germany, and while we weren't abroad, the grub and libations at King Ludwig's did the trick!

I love Leavenworth!  It's a small town only 20 minutes from all major stores and just a 2.5-hour drive or train ride to Seattle.  The mountains are breathtaking.  The food is delicious.  (I may have gained 5 lbs. within 48 hours.)  Also, I couldn't resist making a snow angel in the middle of our walk on Black Bird Island.  I hadn't seen snow since 2007!

We've decided that we shall live in Leavenworth one day.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Think I'm Really Smart Until I See Things Like This

I am a huge fan of TreeHugger.  It is a green news media site that highlights products and sustainable living, and it has loads of fascinating stories.  I'm addicted to it the way that others are addicted to TED Talks (which I love too).  With all the cool stuff on TreeHugger, I always wondered what it would be like to hang out with the TreeHugger team.  Do they really apply all of that to real life?  Well, now you can see the home of the founder, Graham Hill.  It is 420 square feet of awesome.  (The title of the video says 350 square feet, but Hill says 420 in his introduction.)

Umm... can I have one, please?

P.S. I haven't forgotten to post about our trip to Leavenworth, WA.  I was on a break at work when I saw this, and I just had to share it!

ALSO!  Happy birthday to my spectacular father!  He is 59 and still raisin' the roof!  ;)  I am so proud to be one of his kids!  I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Long Does It Take to Break in a New Pair of Boots?

My answer is a combination of things:

A five-day vacation,
a two-hour scenic drive through the Cascades,
three days in the snow, and
a few hours of Seattle rain.

We returned from vacation late Saturday night which left me with a Sunday full of homework and a cough.  I felt like I was on the cusp of a full-blown cold, so what's a girl to do?  Chug water, take probiotics, drink hot tea by the barrel, and chew raw garlic, of course.  My natural tactics are working!  Give me a bit of time to catch up on life, and I'll be back to share more from our amazing trip!

Also, how have you guys been?  I feel so out of the loop!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sew Much to Learn

It's true that I can be overzealous about learning new things.  I go through periods of inspiration where I  convince myself that I'm going to go to grad school, learn sign language, study to be conversational in Spanish again, and learn to sew... simultaneously.  I like to think I'm ambitious, but I'm probably being slightly unrealistic too.  Only slightly.  I narrowed it down to grad school and sewing in my goals for this year.

I've wanted to learn how to sew for years.  I was excited to find Alicia's Sew Series which suddenly made sewing seem less intimidating.  She is a Houston blogger and handmade shop owner (Zeeuh), and she recently upgraded her machine.  Guess who bought her one-year-old starter?  :)

I also recently found Elizabeth's Sewing 201 at E Tells Tales which includes a compilation of book recommendations, tutorials, sewing blogs, and her favorite fabric suppliers.  It is definitely a bookmark-worthy post!

It's going to take a lot of time and practice for me to feel comfortable using it, but here are a few projects I want to try by year's end:

"Oilcloth" Coasters by Martha Stewart

Mittens by A Beautiful Mess

Warm Fuzzies by The Letter 4

Travel Tissue Holder by How Charming, Zeeuh

Tooth Fairy Pillow by Martha Stewart

It doesn't surprise me that these projects have to do with cold weather and having a kid.  Even though it will be long before I'm ready to tackle it, I do want to make Gaby's doll from This Little Port too.  (I still can't believe she made it in two hours!)

Can you help a sister out?  If you have any recommendations, leave a link to a sewing tutorial you love or your favorite handmade blog in the comments.  Please, and thank you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Product Reviews: Influenster Holiday VoxBox 2012

Oh, hey!  I hope you don't mind me talking today, because it's happening riiiggghhht... NOW!  (This is where you scroll down and press Play.)

Quaker Real Medley Oatmeal in Cherry Pistachio
Goody Quikstyle Half-Round Styler Brush
EBOOST in Acai Pomegranate
Montagne Jeunesse Chocolate Masque
** Kiss Nail Dress in Teddy (black with gold detail)

** A product that I will likely buy.

 Disclosure: I received these complimentary products for testing purposes from Influenster.  All opinions shared are my own.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Favorite Outfit for a Chilly Day

Glasses: c/o Firmoo // Scarf: Macy's // Top: Target // Sweater: Macy's // Jeans: LOFT // Boots: JC Penney

I love chilly days.  I think 50 degrees is my favorite.  Cold but not so cold that I have to throw on a parka.  It's as simple as some long sleeves, a sweater, and my favorite scarf.  And although my San Diego roots have made sunglasses a permanent fixture on my head, both on my face and as a headband, I revel in overcast days, because I can wear my glasses all the live long day.

You've heard me sing the praises of Firmoo before, and it's with good reason.  Firmoo believes in "fashion and vision the frugal way."  By frugal, they mean that new customers get their first pair for free (just pay shipping).  After that, you can look through their selection of glasses and sunglasses starting at just $8.00 and check yourself out with their virtual try-on tool.  From geek chic to glam to business casual, Firmoo has you covered!

Get your first pair Firmoo glasses for free:

1.) Click any eyewear you like on the site and view the details.
2.) Click on "New customer? Get your first pair free now" under the photo.
3.) Use one of the sharing options (Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail).
4.) Once you share it successfully, you'll receive a voucher of equal value.  (Shipping excluded)

Fall had a late arrival in Houston, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have chilly weather through March.  But I won't hold my breath.  ;)  Happy Monday!

Friday, January 4, 2013

High Five for Friday #1

1.) I was in need of a rain/snow jacket, and I got the last white Columbia in my size.  I'm in love with my new jacket, and at 50% off, I love it even more.  Oh!  It also has fleece lining that zips out, so it's like two jackets in one. 

2.) My "New Year's Eve" dress.

3.) These Kiss Nail Dress decals are so unlike me, but they are so fun and festive.

4.) I got my first pair of real boots (found at DSW).  I've only ever gotten cute-but-cheap boots for $40 tops.  Thanks to a rewards member coupon, these beauties are mine!

5.) My hair had a good frizz-free curl week.  If you had to deal with these tresses daily, you'd be thankful too.

Yikes.  This week's highlights make me look really superficial!  Oh, well.  There's nothing wrong with pretty things, right?  :)  Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with From My Grey Desk

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5 Things I Hope to Gain in 2013

Credit: MissJillMcDonald on Etsy

New Year's resolutions sure do include a lot of losing, don't you think?   Lose 10 lbs.   Quit smoking.  Eat less junk food.  Clean out old clothing and stuff collecting dust.   All of them come from good intentions and hopes that accomplishing them will create a better life.  Amen to that!

I've never been one for resolutions, although I wrote a list for 2005 and posted it on my wall.  I was coming off the heels of a life-changing season, and at that time, I had so many things I was trying to better in my life that I figured I might as well get the cold, hard truth on paper and call them resolutions for the new year.  (Note: The list worked, and I accomplished the entire list in 2005!)

For 2013, I want to gain.  Life is good.  Like, really goodOf course, I'd love to have more money (who doesn't?), but I feel fulfilled and satisfied by the things that really matter like health, family, marriage, independence, and education.  I don't feel like I need a set of resolutions that I need to be held accountable for.  These are just my goals for the year, I guess.

 For 2013, I hope to will gain:

+ A successful year toward my MBA.  It may seem overwhelming at times, but I know I can do this and do it well.

+ Basic sewing skills, now that I have a second-hand sewing machine.  This is a very valuable skill that I underestimated until I couldn't ask my mom to do it for me anymore.

+ Muscle.  There's only one way to do that! 

+ More patience in heated discussions.  While dealing with a bad situation with a friend over the summer, my mom reminded me to listen carefully, because "you like to interrupt."  Of course, I don't like to interrupt.  I don't mean to.  I'm glad she said that to me, because it made me reflect and consider I how handle certain situations.

+ Sleep.  Plain and simple.  I need more of it consistently, preferably 7-8 hours per night.

One far-fetched goal would be: A stamp in my passport.  Hey.  Dream big.  Cheers to a year of gaining!  If you make New Year's resolutions, what's on your list this year?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in Review: Blog Edition

I started Trial By Sapphire in February!

I traveled home in April for the marriage of one of my best friends.

I became friends with other Houston bloggers and had a blast at our monthly meet-ups, the Houston Blogger Symposium, and Blogger Holiday Party.

We celebrated our first anniversary, and I shared a bit about our first date.

We discovered the glory of Hobby Lobby.

I co-hosted a very meaningful link-up.

Flaunt Your Cause

My family took a trip to New Orleans.

I shared a peek into my day-to-day.

I shared two pieces of writing that I'm very proud of:
Choosing Joy {After Teen Loss} and To Write Love on My Arms

We celebrated fall Texas-style... at Dewberry Farm!

A stranger made our day when we bought a couch.

I started a List of 100 Dreams (which I am still writing).

I continued to practice yoga.

Boone had bilateral hip surgery, and I learned a lot about parenting while taking care of him post-op.

 I met amazing people in blog life and in real life.

When I met Whitney at the June meet-up.  Read about our first blate HERE.

Thank you for your sharing in this blogging journey with me.  I hope the next year brings you adventure, joy, and success.  Happy New Year!  Cheers to 2013!