Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feel like taking a 'picnik'?

0 hugs and kisses
A fellow Etsian directed me to this awesome website to use for cleaning up my pictures of my Etsy items prior to listing them for sale. If you need to crop or alter some photos, you MUST check this site out - it's amazing! Better yet, most of its features are FREE! You can upgrade to a premium account for about $25 and get some additional features, but everything I need is free and I love it that way!

Here are a few pictures I've played with today; you'll get an idea pretty quickly for all this site can do!

Some of My Latest

0 hugs and kisses
As anyone can tell from the right hand side of this blog, I make handmade hair clips for girls and sell them on in my shop, Little Miss Designs.

I have recently slowed down in regards to making clips for my inventory. My sister-in-law (who also has an amazing Etsy shop) and I are planning to buy some booths at some upcoming craft shows in the fall. My plan has been to steadily make more and more clips to have on hand for these shows. I'd still be more than willing to take custom orders, but think I'd have some success with selling items on the spot as well.

Although I've slowed down, that doesn't mean I've completely stopped making anything - here are a few of the latest!

"Dolly and Me" Collection ...
This idea came to me after making a mistake, actually. I am quickly learning ways to be a better seller and what questions need to be asked and what assumptions shouldn't be made. A customer ordered one stock and one custom clip from me recently. I didn't ask her what size snap clip she wanted in the custom item and made it with my smaller clip, the 1 1/4 inch. After she received it, she said it wouldn't stay in her daughter's ultra-fine hair, but the stock clip was perfect (it used the 1 1/2 inch). I quickly made things right by making her another clip that very night and shipping it out the next day - she was very pleased with it.
She asked if I wanted her to ship the original one back to me and I told her no - that her daughter could keep it to clip in her doll's hair. That is when it hit me - I needed to start a collection for girls where a smaller clip would match their larger clip perfectly and she could match her doll or teddy bear or whatever!

Two-Pack Sets ...
This was suggested to me by a fellow-Etsian. Not only should I offer single clips, but multi-packs as well! I love these colors, especially for summer.

If you haven't been to my site lately, check it out. I've added closer, more vivid pictures and hope to be updating inventory soon, so check back periodically!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Zucchini Ricotta Frittata!

0 hugs and kisses
I'll be the first to admit that the 'meal department' in our household has slipped quite a bit since Riley was born. I used to love preparing dinners but that responsibility has largely fallen to Kevin now, or my mom on the days she stays with us to watch Riley. I am so appreciative of their willingness to make the dinners - the dinners that I rarely get to sit down and eat with them due to getting home later than normal for work and Riley's early bedtime. I miss planning out our meals and making dinner, so I realized I just need to make some lists (go figure) and put a plan in place. (What's that? I sound like a project manager?!)

So for this upcoming week not only did I put a plan in place for each evening's dinner and sides, but I have also decided that on the days I am off I don't want breakfasts to consist of grabbing a Fiber One bar on my way to the jumperroo or as Kevin heads out the door for work. I want to make nice, homemade sit-down breakfasts!

This morning was the first breakfast on this new plan of mine. I found a yummy sounding recipe for a Zucchini Ricotta Frittata. I already had everything it calls for in the fridge, so it was an obvious choice! The verdict? It's AMAZING! Kevin and I both agreed it is a keeper ... and so yummy!

Tonight's menu item is Grilled Chicken Avocado sandwiches with fruit salad! YUM!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meeting the Booths!

0 hugs and kisses
I know I've written about my friend Carrie several times throughout this blog. She gave birth to baby Mallory on January 15th - the same day that my friend Kelly gave birth to baby Addison. The thing that makes the friendship between Carrie and I so unique is that we had never met, but we had this incredible friendship bond that drove each of us to make the other one of the very first people aware when our babies were born ... and even when we discovered we were pregnant!

As fate would have it, we both had joined a message board on Babycenter when trying to get pregnant. We quickly recognized all of our similarities and formed a frienship through emails, text messages, and the occassional phone call. An actual phone call was something that was reserved only for the "big news" that one of us were pregnant. That way, if we saw one another's phone number on caller ID, we'd know something big had happened!

Mind you, we first over two years ago and have since then talked almost daily. The one thing that was missing was actually meeting one another in person. Not only did our husbands share the same passion for golf and sports, our baby girls were just 6 weeks apart in age! That was it - we HAD to meet. We all looked at our calendars and decided on the weekend of May 15th. The weather should be good for travel at that time and the girls would be at a cute age (Mal at 4 mos, Rye at 5 1/2 mos) to interact with each other. The plans were made, the hotels were booked, it was a done deal. The Balabans and Booths were going to meet at last!

On Thursday morning (May 14th) we left the house and set out for Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mom took Oliver and Wendell home with her that morning to keep them while we were gone. Kevin spent quite a bit of time out in the driveway as the rain poured down, trying to squeeze the 500 bags into the car that are necessary when you travel with a baby. One thing was sure, though - Riley was very excited for her first out of state trip and in a very good mood!

The drive went well. It only took 30 minutes of Baby Einstein to put Riley into a baby coma that lasted 3 hours! This is what I had the pleasure of looking at for that entire time:

She woke up with perfect timing, just as we were about to exit in Breezewood, PA for a quick stretch of the legs, coffee refill, and much-needed diaper change. We gave Riley a bottle before hitting the road again. At this point we had about 2 1/2 hours remaining in the trip - not bad! Riley stayed awake the rest of the ride and talked to her toys and bunny for the majority of that time. Not once did she get overly fussy; we were very impressed!

I have no idea how people without GPS do it these days. That little piece of technology was our life saver this entire trip. LOVE IT. Thanks to it and "Samantha's" calming voice, we easily found our hotel. Carrie had suggested this particular hotel - the Marriott Courtyard - noting that there was a lot to do in the immediate area. She was so right! It was such an adorable area with lots of restaurants and shopping. We checked in, got the bags up to the room, and Riley quickly checked out her first-ever comfy hotel bed! She approved.

That evening we headed over to Carrie and Travis' house. The plan to was meet there and order in some Chinese. Perfect. We arrived at their house (in an ADORABLE neighborhood) and rounded the corner - I was so excited to finally meet! It went just as I had expected - Carrie and I both shrieked at a ridiculously high pitch as we hugged and showed the girls to one another. It was as though we'd all known one another for years and had visited before - we felt so welcomed. Riley and Mal hit it off really well, too! This picture is from the following day:

Travis and Kevin golfed on Friday and Saturday while Carrie and I hung out with the girls. We took them for a nice walk and watched our favorite TV shows. It was so nice and relaxing and much needed!

The early tee times took a toll on Kevin, though. On Saturday I asked him to give Riley a bottle while I showered and got ready to head to their house for dinner. When I came out of the bathroom, I found them just like this. I literally had to remove the bottle from Kevin's hand. I love the milk moustache on Riley and how Kevin's hand still looks like it could be holding a bottle.

One of the main highlights of the trip was the much-anticipated "Balaban/Booth Friends Challenge". We had basically scheduled Saturday's activities around it. Up for grabs was ownership of the finely crafted, well replicated "Geller Cup". I am proud to announce that after two back-to-back Friends Scene-It wins, the Geller Cup returned to it's rightful place in the Balaban basement. The picture here was taken as we drove away from their house that night ... giving the Booth's one last glimpse of what could have been theirs!

The trip was awesome and we are so happy that we finally found a time to make it happen! Here are a few more pictures from the weekend!
Kev, Meg, Riley, Carrie, Mal and Travis

Riley allowing Mallory to taste her hand.

On the drive home we stopped at the outlet malls and came across this pony that Riley rode.
Another picture of the happy girl, enjoying her hotel room.

Pool time! Riley tried out the hotel pools two times ... and cried both times. The water was too cold, even for an indoor pool! Regardless, she looked adorable in her bathing suit!

Tuesday morning. Time for Riley to be away from Mommy and Daddy while they return to work. She looks a LOT happier than either of us did.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

0 hugs and kisses

Happy Mothers Day! Wow - what an exciting day this year. I've always treasured Mothers Day because it gave me the perfect reason to take a trip to Marietta to visit my mom, but this year it is super sweet and extra special. I didn't get to see my mom (but I am happy for her - she was able to go visit my brother and the triplets this weekend), but I have been celebrated by the two most wonderful people today - Kevin and Riley. Waking up this morning I got to soak in the wonderful reality that I am a mom ... I am really, finally a MOM! And not just any mom ... mom to the most amazing baby girl and wife to an incredible husband.

Kevin delivered me an amazing breakfast in bed this morning. Riley had woken up at 5:30am this morning, so I brought her into our room to snuggle with Kevin and I. As she and I dozed in and out, Kevin snuck to the kitchen to put together my awesome feast. It was delivered to me on a tray complete with Riley's special vase of gorgeous flowers, a card, and a wrapped gift. I looked at my plate and realized Riley must have put a LOT of work into her Easy Bake oven this morning. Hee hee ...

The card was the perfect selection of words and made me cry. In it was a gift card to Old Navy so that I could pick up a dress and bathing suit I'd been eyeing for a couple of days now. My wrapped gift was the best - it was a beautiful, carefully planned Shutterfly photo book jam packed with pictures of the three of us. Now it really made me cry. I can't stop flipping through it - it is absolutely perfect and I treasure it with all my heart.

To all the new moms, old moms, and moms-to-be, happiest of days to you on this day. A day that celebrates US.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Riley is 5 months old!

0 hugs and kisses
I don't have Riley's 5-month letter written as of the time of this post (it will be coming, I promise!), but I had to jump in here to state that I cannot believe 5 months have passed already! This past month was a BIG one for her, milestone-wise. She discovered her feet, learned to roll in both directions, figured out how to jump in the jumper-roo, and even topped it all last night by coming up with this adorable, spitty sound that she does non-stop now. What a show-off! Oh - and have I even mentioned that she is consistently sleeping 10 to 11 hours a night? What a champ!!

She is just the most amazing little person I've ever seen. I had to step away from my desk today at work because I began to cry when thinking about her. I miss her so terribly much.

To celebrate her 5-month birthday, she'll get to try apples for the very first time tonight! I made the applesauce last night and can't wait to see what she thinks.