Sunday, October 30, 2016

Basic Bitch Cake: Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake

I'm guessing that at some point or another you have heard the term "Basic Bitch"  For those who haven't here is a rough idea

Basically...(ha!) It's a funny term to refer to girls who like all the same typical or "basic" things.  One of the running jokes and themes of being a Basic Bitch is how much they love fall and all things pumpkin

So when I decided to make a pumpkin spice version of my New York Crumb Cake and give it to The Boy to take to work I told him it was "Basic Bitch Cake".....and the name just kinda stuck.

The recipe just like my original crumb cake starts with a cake mix.  But instead of yellow I swapped it out to spice cake and subbed out some of the oil and eggs for pumpkin puree, added some extra spice and voila.

Basic Bitch Cake (Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake)

1 Spice cake mix
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 C. Milk
1 C. pumpkin puree
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Crumb Topping

4 C. Flour
2/3 C. Brown Sugar
2/3 C. White Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Cinnamon
3 sticks melted butter

Combine the cake mix, eggs, milk, spices, and pumpkin.  Beat until smooth.  Spread in well greased sheet cake pan.
Bake for 15 mins at 350.  Meanwhile combine all ingredients for crumb topping.  

After 15 mins pull cake out and let cool slightly.  Break apart crumb topping dough into large crumbs and cover the entire cake.  Bake and additional 15 mins

Let cool completely before serving

 Since we're on the subject of Basic Bitchiness.....I thought I would try and determine where I land on the Basic spectrum.  Let's see here....

Not sure if this counts or not but all my paperwares are Basic
I just wore jeans recently for the first time in MONTHS (meaning leggings are my go to), even though I currently only own a camping worthy pair, I love me some Ugg boots! (even more of a basic offense I have eve rocked the Eskiho look in years past)

I could talk all day about how much I love Disney and Holidays, and boots and a flannel shirt are a good look in my book.

But on the flip side....I have only had Starbucks once and have never had Dutch Bros coffee (I just can't get down with paying that much beverage that doesn't at least have booze in it....and even then I do 97% of my drinking at home anyway)

While I don't dislike pumpkin I don't go INSANE the way alot of girls do, and lastly....I don't like Beyonce or Taylor Swift (20something girls everywhere just got the wind knocked out of them and aren't sure why)

So where does that place me on a scale of 1-10?  I'm going to say I'm a solid 7 Basic Bitch.

Where do you land on the spectrum??

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cholo Couples Costume

Looking for a last minute couples costume?  Well I have an easy one for ya...Cholo is the way to go!

The reason why it's perfect for last minute is because it's likely you have 90% of it in you closet already.

In the past I've spent a lot more time and energy in planning my costume....but last year was just too crazy.  I went on vacation and then immediately came back and threw a baby shower the weekend before costuming took the inevitable back seat.  I didn't even decide on the Cholo couple thang until the night before.  

So what do you need???

Flannel- with the return of the 90s fashions I betcha got at least one passable flannel in your closet.  Just make sure you only button the top button and you're set

Wife beater- or plain white T

Khaki pants- the wider the leg the better.  Grey or black will work too.....but I feel most Cholo in khaki

Bandanna or beanie- you know you have one!

For the ChoLAs Specifically: big ass hoop earrings, lip liner, and eye liner

Me and The Boy had pretty much everything we needed....but I got pretty set on the idea of getting what I only remembered as the foamy Nikes  I remember from my childhood.  Now I wasn't sure what they were really called so I had to do some googling to find out they are Nike Cortez.  Then I was informed by a few people that they are also called "Dopemans".  Mmkkay
 So Halloween morning I hopped in Cammy Corolla and ventured over to the mall in the sketchy part of town to score the shoe loot. 

 We were good to go!

One thing I completely underestimated was the art of crunchy hair.  I wet my hair, got max hold gel, and scrunched and scrunched until I developed arthritis and STILL didn't get the crispy look I was going for.  It was a big bummer.  Wah waaah! 

Here is how we looked together head to Dopeman

Then of course we took the kiddos trick or treating.  The Boy is a large I'm pretty sure people just assumed this was his normal everyday attire hahaha

At one point when we made it down the block I got sent back to the house on a beer run (like I literally ran both ways...first and only time a "run" for booze has been literal in my world)  My sister laughed because I could not have looked more ghetto in my gettup running with bottles of beer 

We came across the MOST PERFECT truck to pose with in our costumes....and just to prove how not hard I am....(in case you MIGHT have thought I was a hard ass)....I was told to throw up the "West side" sign.

This white girl panicked something fierce...didn't know what to do....and threw up the number 3 instead. Bahaha!  Nerd alert....More like a segment on Sesame Street than a gang sign 

That's a white cup in my hand.....not a completely misshapen boobie

That about sums it up here.  What has been your go to last minute costume?? I  might need it this year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grandma Yetta Costume

I am a HUGE  fan of The Nanny.  It's for sure in my top 5 favorite shows of all time. I have this dream of being each of The Fine women for Halloween, Yetta, Sylvia, and Fran (although technically Yetta isn't a Fine....she's a Rosenberg, but you get the idea and that's probably more information than you needed to know anyway)

A few years back I was Fran.  You can see the post HERE

I'm going to have to do a redo some year.....because honestly it wasn't that great.  My hose weren't opaque enough, my lips weren't red enough, and the hair wasn't high enough.  It was a bit half assed and Fran Fine deserves my whole ass.  But in my defense.....I was in charge of alllllll the food for the particular Halloween party, and most of you probably know that when you are the one pulling the party getting ready (whether it be cute and dolled up or in costume) always seems to take a back seat and you never quite turn out the way you wanted.  Someday I will do her justice!

Fast forward about 2 years.....(but still at least 8 months before Halloween) and I was doing a little shopping at Goodwill.  I was walking down an aisle and the clothes on a rack parted and light came shining down from the sky......ok so not exactly.  BUT it did sort of feel like divine intervention.  

The rack was totally full and I couldn't see the front of it....but for some reason I was drawn to what at the time I could only tell was a black sweater with thick shoulder pads.  Once I moved the clothes next to it and I could see the front.....I gasped (gaspy hands on face emoji) and proclaimed out loud for the world to hear (really) "A YETTA sweata!!!"

It was a bright sequined sweater that instantaneously SCREAMED Grandma Yetta and I bought it right on the spot and kept it the rest of the year until Halloween.  Things like that just don't happen everyday and you must seize the opportunity!

Once it got a little closer to Halloween I started to gather the rest of the components for my Yetta  getup.   I bought a cheapo fanny pack and painted it gold with sparkly acrylic paint, stole some pants from my mothers closet (not sure why she had such horrendous pants that I don't remember her wearing since I was in the first grade...but whatevs....worked out well for me!) and bought a grey wig online.  The finishing touch was the glasses from and a little lipstick.

My sister Bree was my hairstylist Halloween day and did an AMAZING job at teasing the ever lovin crap out of the wig and giving me some pretty EPIC Yetta hair.  It came out 1000000x better than I could have ever imagined or done myself.  Good job seester!

 Here it is all done

And a little side by side action

I can't wait to do a Fran redo and get my Sylvia on!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

7 Reasons Why This Non-Sporty Broad is Fangirling Over the Olympics

Me and sports are two things that seldom cross paths.  I can't play any sports worth a crap and besides a 2 year period where I was obsessed with catching every Diamondbacks game....the extent of my sport fandom is low, low, low.  I leave that to my husband....he cares enough for both of us.  Yet here I am rushing home from work as fast as I can to catch the Olympics. The channel on my TV has not been changed from NBC since the opening ceremonies and my Netflix and Hulu accounts are having the longest break ever since they were first activated.  So why does a girl like me who normally doesn't give sports the time of day actually LOVE the Olympics? Well I've got 7 reasons for you......

1. Novelty 

Birthdays and Christmas are awesome because they come once a year right?  Well the Olympics are only every 2 years and you have to wait 4 years to see that particular kind again.  To keep me interested in sports it needs to feel novel and not beat to death.  I was telling my sisters last football season (or couch season as we call it in my house) that Carrie Underwood should really consider changing those lyrics to the NFL theme song.

  "Sunday Night" my ass. Lies.  Try EVERY NIGHT.  There's Sunday, Thursday, Monday....then when you factor in College football you have Saturday.  Ugh! Too much!!  Too much for me.  Every 2-4years is right up my alley

2. It's Short & Sweet

This one goes along with #1 because they both relate to my attention span issues.  I can hardly sit through a you can imagine how sports would be a struggle for me.  First of all, the Olympics only last 2 weeks period, so while I maybe full blown into it and rushing home to's a 2 week max obsession instead of 4 days a week for months on end.  I just can't commit to more than that.  Nope.

And then the events themselves are also short and sweet.  How I ever used to sit and watch a 3 hour baseball game day after ever lovin day is BEYOND me.  Swimming and gymnastic for example, a heat can be just a couple minutes or even less depending on the event.  You can watch an hour of it and see soooo much!  The stop and start, stop and start of football KILLS me.  At least basketball keeps moving....but I need the instant gratification that I get from Olympic events. It all gets wrapped up in neatly a matter of minutes and moves on to the next thing.

And for the longer events I like to watch, like say cycling, they cut back and forth to it all day long.  Perfect for an ADD human like myself 

3. Passion

I'm gonna get all Gouda on you here....but I enjoy the passion that comes with the Olympics versus regular sports.  Most of the sports aren't mainstream and while they may have Wold Championships and such, they don't get a lot of attention.  The Olympics are the event they are working towards and they only get that opportunity every 4 years.  You can see and feel how much it means to each of the athletes and I love that! 
Aly Raisman and her holy crap, happy tears!

 That is why I really have very little interest in the Basketball events.  Like take Kevin Durant for example, he might be pumped to be there repping his coutry.....but we all know this isn't his main career goal.  This is for a lack of better words just something to do in the off season but not something he has been working towards for years on end. It just doesn't have the same feel so I skip it all together

4. Nostalgia

Nostalgia plays a big part into why I love the Olympics so much.  When I was little we would be stuck in the house all summer with absolutely NOTHING to when the Olympics came on we had something fun to focus on and I would watch it all day long.  I was that girl who would put on her swimsuit and pretend to be a gymnast in the living room.  I got really into my role and no routine was complete without my hands on my hips, heaving breathing, waiting for my score.  Once I got it I would shake my head with little emotion on my face and sit down for a swig of water.  Man it was fun!! 

5. Sportsmanship

To me sportsmanship should also apply to the fans. Anybody else think that Sundays on Facebook during football season is the WORST place to be?  Ugh!  I mean there is gentle razzing and a few funny comments here and there....and then there is just plain effing annoying.  I hate it.  People can get so crazy and it' stupid.  At least with the Olympics we are almost all rooting for the same team and even if you aren't or somebody else wins....I haven't come across a huge amount of shit talking.  I'll take that any day over the stupid comments people insist on making.  That might be fun for some people but it certainly isn't for me 

Now for the athlete portion of it....I can't stand the entitlement, cockiness, and overall douche factor that seems to plague mainstream sports.  That's not to say that ALL of them are like that....but enough to turn me off from it in general.  I attribute it to their celebrity status, giant salaries, and constant exposure.  Athletes (actors, name  it) may all go into it for the love of the craft, but once huge fame and money hits I feel like the ego takes over.  They are no longer humble and relatable and I'm not into that at all.  

Most Olympians don't make much money, and even those who do (like Michael Phelps) don't get a huge amount of exposure 24/7.  He might be a legend and a household name, but I think the fact that he isn't on TV multiple days a week for months on end lends itself well to an overall better attitude and presence. I will always root for the kind and humble over the cocky and entitled.  I admire those who prove that you can be great at what you do without being an asshole.



It also gets me right in the feels when I see the athletes congratulating each other.  Most if it seems pretty genuine.  There's no forced high actually see them go out of their way to go over and shake a hand or give a hug.  We could all benefit from being more like that

6.  It All Counts!

I am what most people would probably refer to as a "bandwagon fan"  So freakin be it!  Again, I don't have the attention span to watch a bunch of stuff that doesn't feel important.  My interest is only peaked when I feel like it counts.  Now, I'm not bandwagon in the sense that I will suddenly become  a team from Colorado's biggest fan ever once they make it far......but if an Arizona team (or a team somebody in my family follows) makes it to the playoffs you can't deny the excitement.  

The great part about the Olympics is it all counts!  It's like watching the Playoffs or Superbowl for 2 weeks.  It's basically either a semi final or final so it all feels important.

Last but not least......

7. It's Themey

I'm a theme freak!  To me everything is better with a theme....and the Olympics play straight into that.  I'm slacking now.....but I have a future vision.  I imagine myself as "that mom" whose house is decorated (inside and out) like it's the 4th of July.  I want to bake USA themed cookies and cupcakes and theme our meals around a different country on different nights.  Someday this will come to fruition.....check back in 4-6 years.  :)

There ya have it.....the reasons why I'm fangirling over the Olympics.  Off to watch some track....

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Just Another Girl with Daddy Issues

First off....let's get a couple things clear about this post. This wasn't written for sympathy or anything of that nature. It's just a topic that has come to mind a number of times to write about but I never followed through because stuff like this had never been the "Voice" of my blog.  I originally started my blog intending to write craft and recipe posts, but as more and more time passed I realized that I really like to WRITE....real material that's not always easy, breezy and simple.  I've been really feeling the urge to write about some more relateable here goes...

Some people might see this as airing my dirty laundry, but the way I see it is it's not my crusty underwear getting exposed.  I'm more like the shirt caught in the same hamper that could have just used a light febreezing before getting caught up with other peoples grime .  I haven't spoken with my dad in about 7 or so years....but I haven't had a relationship with him in 26 years.  I turn 27 this you see what I'm getting at here?  While some  never have their dad in their life at all, I did.  He was physically there in my house but he was never really present.  I think as a kid I didn't really notice it because I didn't know any different.  It wasn't until I was about 20 that I truly saw how surface our relationship had been.  Let's back it up a bit.....

My dad was (is?) very religious and spent my entire childhood holding prominent positions within our church.  These positions or "callings" aren't paid so they are on top of his full time job.  He spent at least 4-5 nights a week at various meetings and events for Church.  It felt like despite always being taught that family came first, he took every opportunity to be away from us.  When he wasn't at Church he was in his room with the door shut, or falling asleep in the living room rocking chair yet refusing to let us change the channel from Any Griffith even though he was snoring.

Me and all my sisters could never live up to what he wanted us to be.  I think we all turned out damn good and the majority of parents across this planet would agree.  He had 4 daughters all of which never got into ANY trouble with the law, none of us did drugs or get pregnant.  We all got by in school just fine, some of us even getting scholarships.....but Oh yea.... a.big key thing was missing.  We weren't Molly Mormons so we were a big disappointment.  We were (are) all good people with high morals, but because we weren't what he pictured in his head to be we might as well have been shooting up heroin. maybe that's a little extreme....but the judgement and disappointment he had for us was obvious.  This was a normal part of life's not like I had known anything else

Everything came to a head though one May night when I was 16 years old.  It was the night before my last day of Sophmore year when my dad asked us all to meet in the living room.  The only times in my whole life that we ever met together like that was for forced "Family Home Evenings" (put me out of my misery please) but there was no Bible or Book Of Mormon in his hand so I was relieved and terrified all at the same time.  He proceeded to tell us that he and my mom were "Separating"  (he really meant divorcing but for whatever reason wouldn't say the word....maybe he thought you would grow horns and a tail??)  It was completely unexpected  and quite frankly I didn't handle it well.  I had a very physical reaction the the shock that took me most of the night to calm down from.  The next day I dragged my ass to the last day of school figuring I could make it through....after all it was only a few hours.  I walked home from the bus stop, unlocked the front door and was immediately taken back.  My father who never missed a day of work had apparently stayed home (even though I thought he left that morning) and had already packed up his shit and left.  His side of the closet was completely empty, the bookshelves were cleared, and even pictures were taken off the walls (go figure they were church pictures...none o his family)  It was unbelievable  It had been barely 16 hours since he sat us down and he had already erased himself from the home.  It was just the oddest thing and I instantly got a horrible feeling about how this was all going to play out

The next few months were weird to say the VERY very least.  He would come over and spend terribly awkward time with me and my one other sister left in the house.....and even our mom.  I went with it at first because I don't think I really knew how to feel or even act.  He did all kinds of things he had NEVER done my entire life.  He took me out to eat and to movies and we would listen to the Beatles together.  When the school year was starting he even offered to take me back to school shopping for some shoes and clothes even taking me to one of the upscale shopping centers downtown that I had never been to before so I could window shop fancy things like Loubitons and Chanel....something he never would have done in a million years before. I didn't know what to make of it but at the time I felt like he was trying so I thought I would too.  

It wasn't too long before he told me and my sister that he was going to start dating.  A week later on the dot (yes, really) he told us he was dating "someone"   From there I honestly can't even remember how quick it was before he was engaged because it was all such a mind fuck of a whirl wind.....I just remember that they got married the day after Christmas of that same year.  He was out the door at the end of May and married to a new wench by Christmas.  I didn't attend the wedding and had refused to meet her.  I had been keeping a relationship with him but had made it EXPLICITLY clear that I would meet her when I felt ready.  He ended up tricking me into meeting her (I could write a whole other post about that) and hindsight I see that that was the beginning of the end for me.

He had left his family behind in a terrible position to pick up the pieces from a mess he had created.  I'm not going to get into the details of all that.....because it's just waaaaay too much.  The only thing that's important to tell is that he left us all incredibly stressed.  I was 17 and feeling the weight of the world.  He did my mom DIRTY and we were all suffering because of it.  After 29 years of marriage he picked up and started a new life with no guilt about leaving behind his responsibilities. All 4 of us sisters plus one of my brother inlaws showed up at his house and voiced our concerns.  Bottom line was.....he just didn't care.  "She" also opened her big stupid mouth when she had no business doing so and shes lucky I was more timid back then because I just cried instead of cussing her stupid ass out.  This conversation SHOULD have been the last straw....but for some crazy reason unknown to me to this very day.....I continued to talk to him for about 6 more months.  Much much less, but the contact was still there.

I had graduated high school and started my life long (but really...what's a life long dream at 18 anyway? lol) dream of culinary school.  This was right in the heart of the recession and banks were being stingy with handing out loans.  I had already secured the first half of my schooling long before, but it was time to get the second half squared away and nobody would give me a traditional student loan.  The only option I had left was Parent Plus loan....which is basically a loan completely in the parents name applied to your schooling.  I was distraught over the idea of having to drop out of school half way through and as much as I didn't want to ask him for help.....I did.  After all, he had been repeatedly feeding me the line of "let me know if you need anything."  Well buddy....I need something. He gave me the run around and didn't want to do it.  I've blocked out the exact way it all went down but I remember he said some things that really hurt my feelings and I had a full on panic attack.  It was something along the lines of him having doubt that I would make the payments and I found that insulting to my character and work ethic.  I was hyperventilating and trying to calm myself down enough to make the hour drive to school for what I thought would be one of my last classes.  My mom, not wanting me to have to drop out ended up filling out the paperwork with her information.  It was absolutely amazing to me but somehow she got approved.  At that moment my relationship with my dad was officially over for me.  My mom had shown me what a parent was and what he wasn't.  She KNEW me enough to know that I would do whatever it takes to make that payment and not hurt her.  Her financial means was a fraction of his and she didn't hesitate to help me because she knew it was important to me.  He was all talk....and quite frankly a fair weather father.  This incident made me look back and realize he had never really been there for me for ANYTHING.....not just this situation.  What was I holding on to?

I made the cut right then and there.  He would send me emails that I would occasionally read before I ended up changing my email address completely so I wouldn't even have to see them roll in. ( oh and by the wasn't until AFTER he heard that my mom volunteered to do the loan that he sent me an email with the subject line "The answer is YES"....too late brochacho)

The next few years consisted of me avoiding him as much as possible. December became the most stressful month of the year for me.  Between my birthday and Christmas I was afraid he would pop up at any minute.  I would stay out late after work so that I would be getting home at a later hour that he was less likely to show up at.  When I did get home I would try and rush to the front door as quick as possible and do a scan of the street first before even getting out of my car. He would show up to my moms house with my aunt, uncle, and grandpa caroling.  I would roll off the couch and army crawl so he couldn't see my shadow lurking as I would pretend to not be home.  I got caught once in my driveway as he stopped by right at the exact moment I was getting out of the car and trapped me.  He showed up to mine and one of my sisters job a few times. He asked for my work schedule if I wasn't there.  Every year around October I start having nightmares about him that always entail me trying to run away from him.  If that's not telling....I don't know what is. He has since seemed to have finally given up on the physical contact (that is after he sent my uncle over to basically interrogate my brother inlaw outside his own home) and now we each just get a birthday card with  gift card and  a box of Sees candy at Christmas

Too Little Too Late

 There were a few things here and there that we did together as I grew up that for some reason I really clung to and glamorized without realizing.  My brother in-law Drew really put it into perspective for me about 5 years ago.  This was 2 years into having stopped talking to him completely, but we were having a conversation about him and I said something along he lines of how of all 4 of his daughters I was probably the closest to him because "We went to Walmart together and stuff."  That's when he bluntly said to me, "So??  Going to the store together doesn't make a relationship"  It was a HUGE turning point for me even though I had already cut ties with him.  And outsider had clearly put into perspective how silly and ridiculous what I had said and thought all these years really was.  Somehow I had played up in my head the one time a year that we shopped for Christmas decorations and a few random times here and there he let me tag along with him on errands were grounds for a father daughter relationship.....and the closest of 4 at that!  That's sad.  

This really made me realize that there was nothing to really fight for in this relationship.  It's not like a friendship or marriage where you're having a rough patch but have a firm foundation to stand on...a good place to work back to.  We never had that. You simply can't fight for something that was never there to begin with.  This realization was the most freeing thing in my life.  I finally felt at peace with the idea that you know.....sometimes it really is too little too late.  Why did he only start trying to build a relationship with us AFTER he left??  That was not the time to starting trying to be there.

You know when he should have been there?  He should have been there one of the 6 or so times that I begged him to come watch my Christmas sing along at school but never showed. You know when he should have made an effort?  When every single solitary year I would cut out one of my wallet sized school pictures and give it to him and say, "Here,.....for you desk at work!" because I was a little kid who had this grand idea of my father displaying my picture proudly at his job.  Only to years later find a stack of every single picture I had ever given him tucked away far back inside his desk at home.  As if that didn't hurt enough I finally got to go inside his job one day (he worked there for 27 years....waaaay before I was even born and had never let us go in) I got to see that next to his computer he had a GIANT corkboard....with plenty of room to display my pictures.  But instead of pinning a single one he had magazine photos of Koi fish covering it instead. How's that for a giant slap in the face?

Just a few of the pictures he wouldn't display

Maybe instead of my best friends father being the one to take me camping for the first time, teaching me how to catch and clean fish.....he could have done that.  But he didn't.  (Oh wait....I'm sorry.  He did invite me along on a fishing trip a few months after he got married again.  He was taking all his new grandkids and invited me at the last second.  The whole trip was disgusting because he was doing things and being a person I had never experienced.  And all those little rugrats were already calling him Grandpa so freely it was creepy.)  He didn't make the effort and he didn't EVER get to know us.  His Christmas and birthday cards sound less like they're coming from a father and more like they've been written by a distant Great Aunt Gertrude! You know when somebody doesn't really know anything about you so they glom onto the two things they do happen to know and it's like a broken record? Yea....that's his cards.  I like to cook and like I Love Lucy.  According to him that's the scope of my entire life.

And it's not just me that feels this way.  My sister Kinsey found out she had ribboned in the school art show and asked him to take her to the school to see her work.  He wouldn't do it.  And the thing that is even more baffling to me is that he too is an artist!  He paints and this was a perfect way to bond with one of his children and connect with her on a relatable level....and he still couldn't muster the effort to show up and god forbid show he was proud of her.  I think he is is absolutely clueless to things like this that have hurt us and made it so easy for us to walk away completely.  I truly believe he sees our childhood and upbringing completely opposite of the way we lived it,  Moments like that make or break relationships 

The Good and Where I'm at Now  

I 1000000x believe that my parents divorce and severing ties with dad is the best thing that could have happened for my family.  Because he is gone my family is closer than ever and we actually enjoy each others company (at least I think so lol)  With my dad in the picture whether we recognized it or not at the time we avoided family get togethers.  If he showed up at all he made things incredibly stiff and awkward.  If it was at my parents house he more than likely shut himself away in his bedroom.  We were never able to really be ourselves with him around and who wants to show up to something like that?  Now we can casually get together and just enjoy simply enjoy each others company without the awkwardness

Just a few weeks ago I went to dinner with my mom and had a similar conversation.  I told her I truly believed she wouldn't have the relationship she has with her kids had she still been married to him.  When you're married you're a package deal and when nobody is interested in 50% of the package.....most likely you will suffer for it to unfortunately.  I said to right now.....on what planet would you and I be having dinner together on a Sunday afternoon if dad was still here?  It wouldn't happen plain and simple.  

Overall the stress of maintaining even an acquaintance type relationship with him just wasn't worth it.  I spent my childhood feeling awkward, uncomfortable and judged and I wasn't about to put myself through that my entire adult life as well....I don't have the time or energy for fake shit anymore.  We are all living life just fine without him and I won't be losing sleep over it.  He's the one whose missing out....not us.  He never got to see 2 of his daughters get married, his granddaughters grow up, and soon he will have a grandson he will never meet....but being a part of all of this was a privilege he surrendered long ago....and he can live with the consequences for the choices he made.

My mom walking me down the aisle at my wedding
 Some times I think you learn alot more from the bad than you ever do the good.  Instead of taking a good father daughter relationship for granted it has made me more firm in my expectations for my future children....and if The Boy is half as good to our human children as he is to our Kitty I'm pretty sure everything will be fine. I don't think having a relationship with your kids is as hard as he made it.

I'm still incredibly grateful to be have the example of a good father around me.  My brother inlaws became my role models for it and I've watched them more closely over the years than they probably even realize.  Simple things like watching them teach their daughters (and me!) how to shoot a gun, fish, participating in father daughter derbys, having a an annual picture taken of the two of them and proudly displaying it for everyone to see.....those are the things I am happy to witness and I am beyond grateful that my nieces don't know any different.  I jut want them to understand that not everybody gets that experience in life.  

I am never sad over the absence of HIM I merely get sad over the idea of what SHOULD have been....and even that feeling is far more infrequent as the years pass.  I'm doing just fine without him.....just add me to the list of girls with daddy issues.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How NOT to Suck at Thrifting

You might not think that a blog post about thrifting tips would start out with a childhood story.....but I'm an old lady who has a story relating to everything so here goes....

When I was a youngen I was friends with a pretty manipulative little girl.  She was bossy, always made me be the boy when we played house, and her breath smelled like poop. Really.
 She loved to look for ways to jab me and back in those days I was a quiet kid who let everyone walk all over me.  I hadn't yet broken out of my shell (that happened about a year later when I toilet papered the school bathroom ceiling....but that's another post for another day)

One day while playing at her house, she told me "My mom said you buy your clothes at THRIFT stores" with major attitude and a bitch face to match.  I was 6 and didn't even know what a thrift store was.  So she explained to me that my clothes were "old hand me downs."  To me it had just always just been the store we shop at...I didn't care.  But her mean girl attitude about the whole thing stung as a shy first grader.  The funny part is the reason she even know this information is because her mom complimented how cute my clothes were and asked my mom where she shopped for me. So there! ;)

Fast forward about 14 years.  I was 20 and had just started a new job and made friends with a girl named Kelley.  I really admired her style and every time I would ask where she got something it was always from Goodwill.  I would say things like "Ugghh...I SUCK at thrifting! I never find anything."  When let's be honest.....I hadn't REALLY tried very hard.  It took a few years but now I feel like I've found my thrifting groove and I'm ALMOST on her level.  Here are some of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way....

Go Often!

Just like I stated above, I was guilty of thinking that you can just show up here and there and find all these amazing gems.  That's not how it works.  You have to go often.  I'm not saying you have to go 3 times a week and spend 2 hours there (although I would love that!)  but you have to make a consistent effort. It works out best if you find a way to make it into a routine.  I get out of work an hour early on Thursdays so I stop on my way home once a week to take a look.  Then when I'm out and about on the weekends running errands I try to pop in when I can

Keep a Running "Look List"

Keep a list of things you're looking for.  Picture frames, a leather satchel, a chambray button up shirt,  vintage toddler toys.....those are some of the things I've had on my list.  It helps if you show up with a purpose and then along the way you usually find a whole lot more.  And make sure that this list isn't for urgent items.  I'm sure most women to relate to this scenario.....  You have a wedding to go to NEXT WEEKEND and you have a pretty specific idea in your head of the kind of dress you want.  So you hit every store in the mall and can't find it anywhere.  You leave pissed off and in even more of a panic.  If it's that hard in new stores it can be 1,000x harder in a thrifting situation.  Your options are to either go into it with a very vague idea of what you want and be flexible based on the items you come across....OR.....look ahead and start the hunt much earlier.  I start shopping for things months in advance if I know exactly what I want

Scan EVERY Section of the Store

I highly suggest scanning every section of the store....even if you don't have anything from your "look list" in that area.  A perfect example is that I was definitely not looking for anything over in the cup and thermos area....but walking past it quickly I found a brand new in the package Yetti brand tumbler cup....for $1.50!!!!  That's a fraction of what it retails in the store and is a huge score for my Yetti lovin husband.  Actually.....mathematically I paid only 5% of the retail price.

 You never know what you're going to find so don't miss out on those opportunities

Become a Human Scanner

I call myself a human scanner because I can tell you the going price for a lot of different things....but it's good information to know.  How are you ever going to recognize if you're getting a good deal or not if you don't have a general idea of what the regular retail price is.  Pay attention to things as you are out shopping at regular stores and then you will know if it's worth the thrifting price or not.  If you don't already know then just make Google your best friends (if it isn't already)
A couple of my own examples are when I came across this clipboard.  It looked right up my sisters alley and also looked familiar.  I did a little Google action and it's currently for sale at Target for $14.99

Guess how much I got it for??  50 CENTS!  Holla!!

One more example is this cute pair of wedges I came across. (left pair...the sandals aren't thrifted)

  They were brand spankin new and exactly what I had been looking for for months.....but at $10 they were a little expensive to me for thrift store pricing. (yes, I'm really cheap and the more and more you thrift the better deals you look for) but I decided to google the brand because I had never heard of them before.  Turns out they're a higher quality brand that they sell in stores like Nordstroms and the cheapest pair of any of their shoes I could find was $ when you think of it that way $10 brand new was a smoking deal that made me seal the deal. So moral of the story here: do your research

Envision the Potential

Another way to get the most out of thrifting is to look past what things are at face value and envision the potential in the item with a little TLC.  Spray paint, lysol wipes, and magic erasers are your best friends (next to Google of course)!  Here's a picture of one of my thrifting hauls

No I don't have a "thing" for snowy scene tins.....I got them because for $2 and the price of a coat of  paint they made the perfect food and litter storage for  MoMo kitty.  (I'll post them sometime)  And it's hard  to tell in the picture....but the paint is all jacked up on the gumball machine but I wouldn't want a red one anyway.  When you get things for a great deal to begin with you don't feel bad about customizing it as opposed to buying things brand new and still having to pay money to make it "right"

That covers the paint portion...but don't get too caught up on some of the grime you come across either.  MOST things (definitely not all) can be cleaned up with a little elbow grease and look good.  Like kids books for example....check the inside pages for scribbles and as long a the structure of the book is still good the outside covers can usually get a get scrubbing and be ok

Put That Crap in Your Cart and Decide Later!     
As you're browsing I suggest that if you're even remotely interested in an item you just put it in your basket and decide if you REALLY want it later.  Why you ask?  Because it's a scientifically proven fact that once you touch an item you have activated its "It" factor and other people are going to want it now. maybe it's not scientifically proven (although that's a study I can get behind and then win a Nobel prize for) But really, who know how it goes.  You're on the same aisle as someone and out of the corner of your eye you see them pick up and examine something closely.  Then you wonder.....what did I just walk past that they find so intriguing??  So you wait for them to put it down and walk around the corner and then you scurry over to discover the most amazing thing  in the world that you can't possibly live without and wonder how you could ever have passed it by. They come back later because they decide they really do want it and now it' s gone. Waaah waah!!  Don't let it happen to you!   You can always put it back but you can't always guarantee it'll still be there in 10 minutes.  Better to be safe than sorry.  

And if you're worried that it'll make you spend too much by putting it in your cart then try my trick.  As I pick up things I deem them in my head whether or not they are worth standing and waiting in the check out line for if that's the only thing you I find. As I find more things some things get the boot because I would rather have "This" than "that" and seem less important as I find new things.  Or if I find nothing else worth buying I might put it back just because it wasn't worth getting in line for. It kind of creates a system of check and least for keep me from buying everything I place in my cart as a "maybe"

So there ya have it. Hope these tips help you suck a little less at thrifting :)