Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 10 Highlights of 2012

I've done this the last 2 years and I think it's fun to look back at the year.  I like things to be in  chronological order, so I just number and list them in that order. :)

1. Winter CHA/Anaheim, CA (January) - I had such a blast exhibiting and visiting all my crafty friends.  It was exhausting to work the whole show, but definitely worth the experience and exposure! Jess and I take gangsta pics every year, so of course this is our tradition!

I'm so excited to be going back to Anaheim in January!  In 15 days I'll be leaving on a jet plane and can't wait to see all my crafty friends!  I know you're also ALL looking forward to seeing more of Flat Peggy, lol...and Real Peggy is coming with me this year! :)

2. Seattle, WA/Vancouver, BC (April) - Right before my birthday, some of my crafty friends came into town for the Copic certification class and just to have a good time!  I still don't know how I managed to go to Canada and fly to Mexico within 24 hours and no one thinking it was suspicious, lol.  Spending time with my crafty friends is the best!

3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (April) - This was Brent and I's first time to Mexico.  We went with most of the Smith family, as Brent's parents own a time share down there.  They didn't go last year, as they celebrated their 30th anniversary in Hawaii.  Since they skipped a year, they were able to bring double the people.  Though this is such a random shot, it's my favorite from the whole trip.

4. Couponing Deals (June) - The best deal I got this year was 26 tubes of toothpaste for $2.21.  I gave away about half of it to mine and Brent's immediate family we only have 10 tubes left in my linen closet. :)  Though it seems deals aren't as good as they use to be, I'm really hoping to save more this year!  And I learned that I don't like the Deep Action kind, lol.

5. Brien and Myra's Wedding (August) - My brother got married this summer and Brent and I were both in the wedding.  It was such a lovely wedding and I'm so happy for them!

6. Meeting Jenny Lawson (August) - Can you believe she's the first author I've ever gone to a signing for?!?  It was a fabulous experience, though a long and hot summer night in a book store with no air conditioning and lots of people, lol.  For someone who is deathly afraid to speak in front of people, she's such a hoot and was so kind!

    7. Hawaii (August) - Getting the opportunity to visit my mom's grave was a blessing!  I know Hawaii is awesome, but it's not really that gloriously to me, lol.  I spent summers growing up there with my grandparents and while it's a place everyone should see, I think I'm just someone who likes to visits and see different things.  The best thing about Hawaii is definitely the food!

      8. Department of the Year (November) - We won Department of the Year at our annual Manager's Conference.  It was truly a surprise and an honor.  You all know I love my team and my job. This is a picture of my friend and co-worker Tricia.  She works in our legal department.  We had a photo booth at the cocktail dinner, so we had some fun with the props.

        9. Wicked (November) - I was lucky to get free tickets from work to see this show.  The picture below is from my favorite scene in the musical.  This was my first time seeing Wicked and I absolutely loved it.  I haven't read the book, so maybe I'll tack it on to my 2013 list. :)

          10. Civil War/Corvallis, OR (November) - Brent and I made the drive down to Corvallis, OR to see our big rival game in person this year.  I haven't been to Corvallis since the year after I it was a trip down memory lane!  Oh, they've remodeled so much of it and campus is looking so much nicer!  Sadly, my Beavers lost, but I found this awesome hat at 4:30am while out shopping on Black Friday!

          I look forward to the adventures 2013 will bring for me.  So far it's looking like 2 CHAs, getting to see my BFF, and Brent and I will also be celebrating our 5 year anniversary!  Let the new year ring in!

            Friday, December 28, 2012

            Gift Card Holder with Shopping Emily and Christmas Photo

            I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  Mine was filled with visiting friends and family.  Though the trip was exhausting, it was wonderful too see some of best friends from college and spend the holidays with my loved ones.

            I gave my SIL a Forever 21 gift card and instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to just decorate over the holder the card came in.  Paula's favorite color is purple, so I decided on that, even though it's very non-traditional for Christmas.

            I don't have a Smith family pic yet, but here are the Bliatout's on Christmas morning.  Michael was very impatient to open gifts, lol, and did not want to take family pictures. :)

            I got the remaining Copics I needed from now I own all of them, including the special anniversary set that was released this fall.  I mostly got money for my upcoming trip to Anaheim and some things in my stocking from Santa (Brent).

            The day after Christmas, I did some retail shopping and bought wrapping paper, ornaments, and bows for next year.  I also splurged a little bit and bought a new Coach bag, but bought one from the Factory Outlet store.  I did ask for the money...but I suppose I was a wee jealous that my SIL and cousin got a Coach purse and scarf...and I didn't get anything Coach, lol.

            I got an awesome deal on it (about what you would pay for a wristlet full price), but it is a factory bag.  My Mom loved Coach, so yeah, I can spot bags that aren't full price or real, a mile away.  But honestly, the quality is still there from what I can tell...and I'm not going to be snobby about it. :)

            BTW...I buy outlet stuff all the time, especially suits from Ann Taylor, so please don't be offended.  If anyone didn't know and actually cares...all the factory bags at Coach that were made specifically for the outlet have an F in the second  part of the serial number.  They do clearance out full price bags there too, so just keep your eyes out (well, in, since you'll need to look inside the purse, lol)!

            Lastly, I am having a sale in the store.  Use the code above for 20% off all orders!  I hope you all have a lovely Friday!  It's almost the weekend!!

            PS...Sadly, Inlinkz is going to start charging for the Link Manager...and I can't justify spending $50 a year, just so I can have fun little product pictures on my blog.  I suppose I'll just go back to my old ways and type things out.

            Paper: BasicGrey Soleil, SU Rich Razzleberry Cardstock, PTI White Cardstock
            Stamps: SCRS Shopping Emily, A Muse Sentiment (retired)
            Circle and Scalloped Nestabilities, Copic Markers, Yellow Rhinestones, Crystal Stickles, and SU Black Rub-ons

            Friday, December 21, 2012

            Books I Read in 2012

            Sadly, these are the only books I read this year. I read the first 10 books by April 2012.  And then took the rest of the year to read the last 4.  {Sigh.}  I have always loved to read and I'm really disappointed in my lack of reading this year.

            I initially got into a really good routine of reading while I was walking and running on the elliptical at the gym.  And I use to read when I would take baths at night...but getting an iPad has really curbed that down, since I'm really nervous to sit in the tub with it, lol.  I'm hoping that with me back to exercising more will lead me back to more reading.

            Out of all the books I read, I would say I've Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella was my favorite.  Chick lit is my 2nd favorite type of read and it's absolutely hilarious!  If you're an avid texter, you'll really appreciate this book. 

            Jenny Lawson's book was also hilarious...but I wouldn't recommend it if you're not into crude humor.  I also had the honor of meeting her this summer. :)  And Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was another great read.  I love learning about culture and religion as well, so I found it interesting and quite entertaining.  I also love that she mentions Hmong people in her book.

            #1 on my list of 30 Things I Will Do This Year is to finish reading all the books in my stash.  When Borders went out of business {still sad in my heart!} I bought a bunch of books for $2 each.  I have 14 books sitting on my shelf to read by April 5th...can I make it?!?

            Though mystery/thriller and chick lit are my favorites, I read all types of books.  Have any must reads for 2013?  I'm gonna try to read The Host, by Stephanie Meyer before the movie comes out this year!

            Thursday, December 20, 2012

            One Little Word and 2013 Goals

            With the new year approaching, I've been trying to narrow down what I would like to work on this year. First, I have decided to pick Expand, as my 2013 word. I don't necessarily need to have lots of new growth (I did consider grow) but what I really want to do is excel in my strong points at a higher level.

            My word for 2012 was Sparkle. And though I didn't get everything crossed off my list or dedicate as much time to Sparkle Creations as I would of liked, I definitely had a fun year celebrating me! I exhibited at CHA, I switched my whole life to being electronic on my iPhone and iPad, I traveled to Mexico and Hawaii, I had special fun weekends with my crafty friends, my department at my day job won Department of the Year, and I saved over $1,500 couponing this last year. (That's 250 Basic Grey paper pads, lol...or 300 Copics.)

            Have you picked out a word for 2013?

            My list of words:
            2013 Expand
            2012 Sparkle
            2011 Balance
            2010 Strive

            Keeping track of my goals monthly on my blog has been a great tool for me. It doesn't let me forget what I'm trying to achieve and I can account for my progress. No ones perfect...and my list of goals will never be all too easy. But that's how I push myself to keep going forward! Sometimes you win and sometimes you fail...but regardless of the outcome, I'm always happy with what I am able to do.

            For my goals, I'll have 3 different categories...My Day Job, Sparkle Creations, and Personal. Every goal I've made for my day job in the last 3 years hasn't even come close to getting crossed off my list. I work in an environment where things change while I would like to get to certain's not always the priority.

            My Day Job Goals
            • Vault Teller Manual - ALL
            • Designated Trainer Kits - USA
            • Assistant Manager Training - ALL
            • Management Training for myself
            With my day job being very demanding of my time and effort, I still have yet to figure out a good balance with that and Sparkle Creations. Since it is my first career and the job that pays my bills, obviously I have to give it greater importance at certain times. I really appreciate all the fans and customers who have grown and have great patience with me.

            I really want to focus on money and costs this year. I did a little bit last year, but I really want to make things more cost effective for me and for the future. I really hope to have this continue into my next career and I really need to push over onto the other side.

            I also have some really fun news that I'll announce after New Years!  I think 2013 will be a fun and exciting year for SCRS!

            Sparkle Creations Goals
            • More cost effective
            • Monthly Sales Goal
            • More time with my team
            • Card Kits
            I have yet to completely finish a year of my Project Life.  I have about half of 2011 done and about half of 2012 done, lol.  I'm gonna keep trying and maybe the 3rd time is a charm? :)

            With it being my 2nd year in couponing, I'm going to keep my grocery goal the same as last year.  I want to spend about $150 per month.  Now that I have a mini stockpile, I think it'll even be easier for me to do...and I have a better idea of whats practical in quantity for me to buy.  I mean, you already know that I don't need to buy razors, shaving cream, detergent, or toothpaste this year, lol.  I also got enough air fresheners on Black Friday to last til 2014. 

            I include all household products in my grocery budget, so though I over spent $60 for the year, I'm kindof on the fence about it.  I spent a little more than $100 on getting diapers and wipes to make diaper cake gifts...and I kindof feel like it shouldn't really count since I'm not keeping them.  I think I will separate that out from my normal budget and put it in my gift budget. (Yes, I do save for birthdays and Christmas year round.)  But I will still include paper towels, soap, toilet paper, etc. in my monthly allowance.  

            I've always been quite healthy (and I still am)...I eat healthy, drink water, and exercise.  I eat better than I exercise and Brent is the opposite, lol.  He eats a lot more junk than I do, but he exercises much more.  But when I spend 8 hours at work, go couponing, and need to fill orders for SCRS...exercising is the thing that gets lost on my list of things to do.  I really want to make an effort to exercise routinely again. 
            Personal Goals
            • Project Life
            • Spend $1,800 on groceries for the year
            • Time Management
            • Be more healthy
            I made an extra goal list on my 30th birthday.  I suppose I only have 4 more months to make a dent on this. :)  I am happy to cross off #28!  I ran a 5K earlier this month with my co-workers.  And by the time I head off to CHA in January, I should be able to cross off #18!

            I'll technically by 31 by the time I make it for #5, but I give myself half credit for this...since the trip is planned and Brent surprised me with this!  Since I'm making a special trip that I didn't plan and save might impact what we can do for #19.  I have such a sweet hubby that would rather let me see my BFF than us doing something cool for our anniversary.

            30 Things I Will Do This Year

            1. Read all the books in my stash
            2. Visit my mom's grave
            3. Try bikram yoga
            4. Go zip lining
            5. Visit my BFF
            6. Profit with SCRS
            7. See the Canucks play live
            8. Save over $1,000 from couponing
            9. Make a card kit class
            10. Actually finish my Project Life
            11. See a play
            12. Take a college class
            13. Learn to cook something new
            14. Take more pictures
            15. Print more pictures
            16. Use more technology
            17. Cherish people more
            18. Pay off my car
            19. Plan something fun for our 5 year anniversary
            20. Play free bingo
            21. Create more for fun
            22. Make more scrappy cards
            23. Join the Alpha Xi Delta Alum group
            24. Wear earrings more often
            25. Execute Operation Beyońce - we have fun with Beyońce at work, can't give our prank away, lol
            26. Make chicken cards
            27. See my friends more
            28. Do another 5K
            29. Work on my garden
            30. Make more time for my team.  I truly love these ladies!!
            All right...I know that's a lot to take on for 2013, but I'm hoping I can at least make this year amazing and make a little dent in my lists!  I wish you all a prosperous and great year!

            Monday, December 10, 2012

            SCRS Challenge #94 - Snow Challenge and Snow Angel Ruby Card

            Ugg...I am so behind!!  I'm just at the tail end of my cough and now Brent is sick. :(  I just finished putting together my photo cards and I still have a few more crafty ones and gift card holders to make.  I feel so unprepared for Christmas this year...

            Welcome to Week 2 of Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps Challenge #94 and our last challenge of 2012!  We appreciate you taking the time to join our challenge and look forward to seeing your creations each week. You have until Sunday, 12/16/12 @ 9 PM PST to play along with our current challenge which is a snow challenge.

            Our challenge is open to all players. Each challenge a random winner will be chosen, and the winner of each challenge will receive a fantastic SCRS rubber stamp! In order to qualify for a prize, you must use a Sparkle Creations image on your creation. Most importantly, have fun! We can't wait to see your creations!

            To play along in our challenge, upload a photo of your project and provide a direct link in the linky widget at the bottom of this SCRS post. If for any reason the linky isn't there, please add a link to your challenge creation in the comments below. If you use an online gallery (e.g. Splitcoast), please also use the keywords SCRSC94 and SparkleCreations (no spaces). If you have a Facebook account and are a fan of Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps, you can also upload there. Deadline for challenge #94 is Sunday, December 16th @ 9 PM PST.

            I hope you all have a great hump day!  Brent and I are going to see the screening of Reacher.  Do I have any Jack Reacher novel fans?  I've never been a Tom Cruise fan, so I am disappointed that they picked him, lol.  But Brent loves Tom Cruise and is the only reason why he's going with me. :)

            Friday, December 7, 2012

            SCRS Release Day and December 2012 Previews - Happy New Year Emily

            Hi everyone and welcome to DECEMBER RELEASE DAY!  All new stamps are now available to buy from the SCRS store! Click here or above on the Sparkle Creations Store link to start shopping now. We are also previewing Happy New Year Emily today who comes with two fab sentiments.

            Be sure to visit our fabulous SCRS designers for more peeks of Happy New Year Emily. Sparkle will be giving away a Happy New Year Emily rubber stamp to one lucky person! For a chance to WIN, you need to visit and comment on all of the designers' Happy New Year Emily blog posts (listed below) and leave a comment here on the SCRS blog post. You have until midnight EST tonight to comment.

            I hope you enjoy our new release!  I have a full day of crafting, as I still need to get my Christmas cards done!  I'll also be finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts!