Scrappy Time!

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I haven’t been crafty in a very long time. I know it is in part because my room has been a disastrous mess – which I remedied tonight. I’ve also been lacking inspiration despite a huge stack of photos that have just been waiting to be scrapped, and special memories relived. Once I cleaned my space tonight, all I wanted to do was play with paper and ink and other pretty things. The result was a simple single page layout that says a lot to me.

Next week I’m slated to begin a side project that I have very mixed feelings about. It has a current working title of “Project Me”. I’m not sure how it will go, but it inspired me to craft. I’m also not sure if I’ll feel comfortable blogging about it, only time will tell. I’m nervous, maybe a bit skeptical, filled with confidence and doubt, terrified and excited all in one. Change is good though, and it is the only way we as people grow. The photo is poolside at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Chandler AZ last year on one of the days before Creative Escape. It was so beautifully hot, and that R&R was so needed.

For the crafty details – the tag reads, “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are”. The metal embellie below reads, “Believe”.

Cardstock and ribbon are Bazzill. Patterned paper is by Rusty Pickle. The tag is by Daisy•D. Metal embellie is Tim Holtz idea-ology. And the brads are My Minds Eye. Ink is Ranger Distress in black soot and Ranger Nick Bartock Collection in Van Dyke Brown (my fav!).

I Hate Gardening

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I first fell for this house 2 years ago. It had so many beautiful upgrades above the house we were in and they were all so easy to love. I truly found almost everything I thought I wanted in a house in this house, and then some – anyone else have a walk-in linen closet??!?! It had a lot 20ft wider than what I had and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much deeper it was. It also has a VERY sharp slope at the very back down to a chain-link fence and beyond that fence is a beautiful walk trail, that I used to run, when I ran… …another time… There were also a few gardens nicely planted that were well beyond the gardens I had in my old house. I had a ball last summer, which was the first summer in the house, watching everything come up and bloom and learning what each bloom was. The honeymoon ended with the invasion of the Japanese beetles that skeletonized every single plant I loved – namely my roses and hibiscus tree. It only got worse from there.

These gardens and hill have become a tremendous stressor for me over the last little while. It started with our rainy spring that it seemed every day I had off it rained. The flowerbeds became over-run by opportunistic, rapidly growing, unwelcome weeds. I’m also no green thumb, so as the weeds grew, and I couldn’t remember really what had been planted by the previous owners, I became afraid to dig anything up because I didn’t want to take out the plants that I did love. And in being fully honest, some of the weeds I grew to love too as they actually did create some pretty fence cover and filled in the spaces quite nicely. The hill is a damn bitch to mow. It’s exhausting and not easy at all, and crazy time consuming. I also feel like there is no safe way to mow it. I’m a girlie girl. I’m not all that outdoorsy, unless you count lying on a beach in the sun. I hate getting dirty. I hate bugs.

It seems our neighbor took issue with our weeds as well, and kindly alerted the city to our little problem. The old adage still rings true, you can’t fight city hall. It started when he wanted to stain our shared fence, but didn’t say when he wanted to do it, and when he did I had zero time to deal with the fence weeds. City hall wanted to impose a timeline on dealing with my weed garden, but there was no way in hell I was missing a trip to Mexico to appease them. The battle continued after I got home, and the job was now colossal and overwhelming. I spent 90 mins one day mowing the hill. Yes, 90 mins. Another day I spent 2.5 hours dealing with half of the weed gardens, and finally finished the job on another day after 3.5 hrs more of work. For those doing the math and keeping up that’s 7.5 hrs of yard work over the span of 3 days.

City hall is now off my back, my kind neighbor offered me 2 squashes as a peace offering/thanks for my efforts, my hands are sporting blisters that are not healing well at all, my yard looks reallly bare now, my gardening gloves are trashed and useless now, I broke a rake, my husband broke a shovel and I still question what on earth I was ever thinking buying a house that needs so much outdoor maintenance. I’ll try to find the positive in this whole experience and say that it was good exercise doing all that work, and it was nice to be out in the sweltering hot sun so I wouldn’t miss Mexico too much, and pulling all the bugger weeds will only do good things for keeping the flowers I love alive, and parts of my yard now do look much nicer. I learned that not everyone subscribes to the mantra of “live and let live”, nor do they keep to themselves in a peaceful little life as much as I do. I also learned that squash is the new peace offering, which is a pity because I think I’d much rather receive flowers, or bottles of Grey Goose – but at least I now know what the new socially acceptable apology gift is. Squash anyone?

Special Sweet Tea

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A quick getaway to Michigan resulted in this delightful find. Now, I do have sweet tea vodka at home (of course!), but pre-mixed and ready to go is great in my books! More to follow later. Some posts have been brewing. I’ve just been preoccupied with life lately and I feel like I’m finally starting to breathe again. Good things happen as burdens slowly dissipate. Salud!

New Beginnings

Moved... Pictures, Images and Photos

I’ve created a new home. It was time. I could make it a little more my own and wordpress has a great app so I can blog on the iPad vs trying to blog on a browser. Just trust me that the app makes everything so much easier.

So my new home is https://sunshineandsweettea.com/ Ok – so you MAY be able to click the graphic and it MAY take you to my new home.. or the click the graphic thing may not work at all.. Still slooooowly learning HTML crap. Dammit Jim I’m a medic, not a programmer… but if you need someone to do CPR…. 😉

Also, if you are on twitter and so inclined, I tweet, a lot at twitter.com/mndtiiu

Cheers to all! 🙂
xoxo

Five-ish Things

I made the decision last week to attend my 3rd and the final Creative Escape in Arizona in August hosted by the lovely Heidi Swapp and Bazzill Basics Paper.  If you’re not a scrapbooker, those names will mean nothing to you.  But, it’s serving as good inspiration for today’s post.  One of the projects I’ll be working on at Creative Escape requires me to “bring five photos featuring things/people/events in your life that evoke special memories”.  I spent last night sifting through iPhoto trying to pick the 5 best, and thought I’d like to share them here as well.  I may share the project when complete, but I really don’t think my work is all that good.

Unfortunately, I’m up to 18 defining photos, so I’ll need to pare it down quite a bit. Here are some selections from the pared down list:

1. Cindy and I. Cindy was my trainer some years back. I was just starting to work with her when this was taken. She pushed me to places I didn’t think I could go. I definitely reached my greatest overall fitness with her. Already as I write this I know this photo won’t make the final grade because I also have a lot of negative feelings and disappointments around it too as our goals seemed to be very different, and mine never reached.

2. My Girls, Socks and Matisse! I love those two little sweeties so much.

3. Steve and I, on the eve of my 30th birthday on my first trip to Le Blanc. This night was a fabulous night that began with a 9 course tastings menu with wine pairings by the Sommelier on the 3rd floor terrace. There was just us and one other couple, and a saxophonist. We went to the lounge just inside after and spent the night sampling several different martinis made by an amazing bartender, who also made a point of getting me special cakes from downstairs when he heard it was my birthday eve. Very very very special night.

4. My sweet cousin Katie and I, at my 30th birthday party. I have so many memories surrounding this birthday. It was the worst birthday I’ve ever had, and yet in the middle of it all I had some bright pockets of just feeling so loved. It meant the world to me to have her there for my party.

5. The Malecon, Puerto Vallarta. We had a great day on the town in Puerto Vallarta, and by serendipity found this amazing cafe where we sat on a balcony overlooking the malecon, watching the sunset, sipping the most delicious lattes I’ve ever had. It was an amazingly special and impromptu night. We had our share of adventures trying to make it back to our resort as a result of staying out too late and enjoying the night too much. I was just getting the hang of the settings on my camera and happened to catch this magical photo, and it’s probably the one I’m the most proud of.

6. Sea Turtles! On this night we walked 10km down the beach to release sea turtles into the ocean. 2 years prior I had to do this magical event on my own. This year Steve was healthy enough to take the long walk with me. It was an amazing moment to get to release these turtles again, and it was an even bigger accomplishment for him.

7. Goal weekend in Chicago. I’d just shed over 90lbs, had a great roadtrip with Mom from Toronto to Chicago to get there. I was at such a great place of feeling amazing to be me, in an amazing city, celebrating my cousin Ben’s graduation from high school.

8. Kim and I. Wow. Here’s where I get emotional. This was taken on the last day of my last trip to Calgary. Kim, Amber and I were the best of friends growing up together. I hadn’t seen Kim in probably 20 years, but we were able to pick up like no time at all had passed, despite going through so many big life changes on our own over the years. Amber isn’t physically in this picture. She is by way of love from the two of us. You see, I was there for Amber’s funeral. She was senselessly murdered. I always thought I’d reconnect with her, with the two of them at some point, to catch up on life. I didn’t ever get that chance and I have both nothing but regret it didn’t happen, and gratitude it did with Kim, even if it was over such a heartbreaking event. I still cry for her. I still grieve the loss of her. I still regret every moment that I didn’t reconnect with her. Next week is her birthday, she would have been 34. She was beautiful. She was so fun. I have so many wonderful memories of my childhood with those 2, my best friends, for life.

9. My first snorkeling trip. I was so apprehensive about going snorkeling as I’m not a fantastic swimmer, and it was with rented equipment that kind of icked me out. But, I couldn’t justify buying my own equipment when I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it in the first place. This was just a little north of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. I went mostly to appease Steve. I wound up being one of the last to leave the boat, terrified, ready to return in a moment’s notice. However, once I started, I loved every second of it. This was a moment we connected together and snapped an underwater pic of us holding hands. I was the absolute last to get back on the boat and even then it was with great reluctance. Just goes to show you that you never know what you may enjoy until you try.

10. My first ocean splash. July 10, 2005 I woke up in Bucerias Mexico after arriving early that morning to PVR. Getting in that late pretty much just meant going to the room and getting some sleep to get an early start on the day. I also wanted to wait to go to the ocean until daylight when I could actually see it. So that morning, after hearing the ocean rumble from our room, and listening to the waves crash in over breakfast I finally made it to the ocean, got my feet wet, feeling the surf crash at my feet. Pacific Ocean, nice to meet you. Travel bug, thank you for your sweet sweet bite.

11. Muy bonita! What a funny night! We were at Aventura Spa Palace in Puerto Aventuras Mexico, going for our anniversary dinner. I picked to go to La Hacienda, the Mexican restaurant on the resort. He wasn’t overly happy with the choice but went with it in the name of happy wife, happy life. Aventura Spa Palace is a ~2000 room resort, in 10 3-storey high buildings. There are also 2 lobbies where the restaurants are held; the north and south. Our room was close to the north lobby, dinner was at the south. We were taking the quick way to the south, which means outside by the grounds, when on the walk the skies opened up into this HUGE downpour!!! We both got soaked! He was even more unimpressed with me at this point; cold, wet, and hating on Mexican food. Mid dinner, the mariachis came over and serenaded us. One leaned down during the song and whispered in my ear that I was “muy bonita”. This photo was snapped right after he said that.

12. Approaching the finish of the Soldier Field 10 mile run – May 2010. What an adventure! As I was nearing the end of my weightloss journey I developed a bit of a lofty ambition; to run the Soldier Field 10 mile run. It was definitely something I couldn’t have done 5 years prior at 90+lbs heavier, and completely out of shape. I set a goal, I chased it, and the pure joy on my face, even after running for 2 hours says it all. Fait accompli. To add to the drama, as I was on the last half mile they were shutting down the race and ordering everyone to walk due to excessive heat conditions. I almost started to sob because I saw that I was so close and yet so far from attaining that goal. Well, race rules be damned, I pressed on, kept running, kept in contact with a bike medic beside me to reassure him I was fine and not suffering any heat exhaustion and that I was well hydrated and fine to finish strong. He agreed I was fine to carry on, and that is my burst into the stadium. In being fully honest, it was tons of fun, every single mile. I’ve since pretty much retired. I’m not a runner. I don’t love the prep work. But the nice thing about goals, is once accomplished, they can never take that away from you.

13. I gotta be me – my first Tiffany. Because good things come in little blue boxes. In my case it was a beautiful necklace with a skate, in Tiffany blue, pendant. It was a total surprise that Christmas morning, and so very thoughtful. It may not be as life significant as some of the other memories, but it still makes me smile all the same.

And now to pick and print 5 of these fantastic memories! I’m glad I have some time to make this tough decision.

A Suitcase of Memories

Life at home is resuming to mostly normal. I’ve sifted through my luggage and have decided what needs to be washed and what can be just put back away. One of these days I will adhere to the mantra of – “Look at what you want to pack, and then take only half”. I’m pretty sure that’s almost what happened to me, except I took everything, and only wore half. That said, Murphy’s Law would dictate that the one thing I left behind would be the one thing that I needed. Alas, I’m a girl, I pack a lot of things and I’m unapologetic about it.

I promise I won’t spend excessive time raving about how awesome Le Blanc is. And in many ways, no amount of raving would ever give that resort proper justice. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced to be understood. The beach is beautiful, the property is so serene and peaceful, the spa is spectacular (easily my favorite), the food is amazing and so fresh and they are extremely cautious about food safety… You get the idea.. But the biggest thing that sets Le Blanc apart from anywhere I’ve ever been is the stellar service on every single level. You are treated like royalty and family all in one. No request is too great, and if you hint you like something they will go above and beyond and deliver. I’ve now taken 4 trips there and I’d be perfectly happy to only vacation there. I’m definitely not as happy anywhere else, and I can’t help but compare everywhere else to here. It’s truly set the bar.

I’m fortunate to have traveled enough that I’ve already done pretty much every excursion resorts offer, so I don’t tend to venture off the resort much anymore. It was not a trip of wild adventures. It was a trip to relax, recharge, refuel. Mission mostly accomplished. I don’t bring home tacky souvenirs anymore. Many trips ago I would bring home the obligatory sand and cheap bottles of tequila, blankets and maracas (ok, maybe not maracas). I did pick up something equally insane this trip and it still makes me laugh that I did in the first place. I was shopping in the spa and ventured over to the obligatory cellulite cream section and discovered they had weightloss cream and breast firming oil. Now, I quickly dismissed the weightloss cream as not possibly working because really, they’d put the entire diet industry out of business if it were only so easy to just slather up in lotion and watch the pounds melt away. But breast firming oil?! Now we’re really talking! Who needs expensive plastic surgery when you have a $23 bottle of oil?!? You guessed it, I bought it. Low cost risk for potential high reward. Lets be totally fair here people, I needed the weightloss cream more. After buying it, I was standing in the pool with my husband enjoying a peaceful quiet moment when I announced, “I just bought snake oil didn’t I?”. His instant reaction, without hesitation was, “Ya think?!?!?!”. Evidently he’s a non believer. Fool!

My suitcases, now empty of clothes and breast firming oil, are full of so many wonderful memories. Priceless memories. Until the next time we meet again Le Blanc, thanks for the memories.

The Other Home

It’s always so weird to come back from vacation and readjust to reality and the everyday routines.  There were no further posts while I was away because the weather got better and my days became so filled with everything but blogging.  There will be a trip recap, but today is not that day.  I just don’t have the chutzpah.  I had delusions of tackling my outdoor weed gardens today but relaxing and coming up with a bit of a life plan while snuggling on the couch with the cat seems to be winning out.  Working up the energy to go to the gym is also taking a lot out of me, so I just need to use my energy reserves intelligently.  I did mention I was a procrastinator I’m sure. So really, I’m just doing one of those little things I do best. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.