Monday, November 24, 2014

Merry Monday: Peppermint Mocha

Welcome back to Merry Monday! Where we pretend to live in Whoville and don't care that Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet. Today we're talking t-shirts, and by t-shirts I mean Christmas themed t-shirts, obviously. Let's take a look, shall we?

If you know me at all, you'd know that I don't like coffee. Give me a cup filled halfway up with hot chocolate and the rest of the way with gas station cappuccino (definitely not the real kind) and you'll have my heart in a to-go cup. But absolutely no coffee or Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes or any of that nonsense. Add that weirdness to me also not liking bread or anything doughy (cough pizza) and we'll just have to officially confirm that I'm an alien. I'm totally fine with it. 

But even with all of that dislike, I just couldn't resist this absolutely adorable shirt from Ashley's Etsy shop, From Ash With Love. It's just so festive and fun and sparkly, so why shouldn't this Christmas obsessed chick not get to wear it?

The cutest thing about her shop, thought, is that she makes all of her designs fit any size shirt. Seriously, any. There are tees for toddlers, youth, and adults - plus she even makes all of her designs for onesies! So cute right?! I know a couple babies who would like extra scrumptious in these little numbers.

Do you see the Elf pyramid of his four main food groups?! That's the other one I scooped up and I plan on snuggling in it while watching the movie as soon as ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas starts in a week.

There are also more than just holiday shirts hanging out in her shop. There's some cheetah print, a glittery football, hearts, a bulldog and even a few to bring in the New Year. Plus you can customize any of them by changing the colors, as well as decide on having glitter or not. For instance, I got the Elf one in white with a glittery red pyramid. Ashley has made the possibilities endless. So head on over to her shop and order yourself some festive fun!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Art of Being Over Blogging

"I wish I was as excited about blogging now as I was when I first started."

"I feel like I never have anything to write about anymore."

"I haven't blogged in days and it honestly doesn't even bother me."

Have you found yourself saying any of these things or anything somewhat similar lately? If not, then you're lucky. Really lucky. That or you just haven't been around blogland long enough to understand the sudden wall that builds up causing you to feel these things. Blogging is hard. I think all of us that do it has said it. And it's hard for so many different reasons. 

It's hard in the beginning because you're working your gosh darn ass off trying to learn the ropes. How do I insert a link, how do I line all of my photos up, how do I add a button to my sidebar?

It's hard in the meat of it all once you've got the basics down because you're trying to keep up with ad space, and link ups, and sponsored posts, and making sure you're constantly providing great content for your readers. Maintaining page views and keeping your stats up enough so that you can continue making the money you've recently started making off of your lovely hobby. It's hard because it's just so chaotic and crazy and everything's happening all at once for you.

And then you reach the whole other set of hardships. The burnt out ones I'm experiencing lately and hoping the heck that other bloggers out there are experiencing as well. Actually, I know there are other bloggers out there feeling the same way. Whit hasn't blogged about much of anything since picking up and moving across the country (she's alive and well for anyone wondering). Kym went radio silent for a while too because, like she put it so perfectly, "Silence was better than bullshit." And my Twitter feed and email inbox have both seen quite a few "after x amount of years, I'm shutting my blog down" and "I feel ya on not being excited about posting anymore" type of comments.

The things that are hard in this stage of blogging aren't only hard, they're debilitating. Because all the things that seem difficult in the beginning just push you to try harder and keep going. The things now cause you to honestly not give a flying eff.

Blog's been completely blank for two weeks? Cool, I could pretty much care less. Real life is just so much more enjoyable right now, so worrying about my post-less space on the interwebs seems, well, pretty pointless. 

I've wondered, lately, whether real life happiness has anything do with how often we blog about our real lives. Obviously there are a ton of bloggers who show up every day that are perfectly happy, don't get me wrong. So I'm certainly not saying that bloggers who post seven days a week are anything short of perfectly content. But I guess these past three months of my own life have just about been the single most happy months of my life and blogging completely went out the window for all three of them. So maybe, at least for me, when I'm genuinely happy with what's going on in my life, I really don't feel the need to come here and write about it. I don't use this place as a crutch to provide me my enjoyment.

Then there's the fact that maybe I've just run out of random shit to write about. I've never called myself the most entertaining or exciting person in the world, so how am I supposed to keep showing up to entertain? There's only so many times I can tell you all how much I love Chipotle and puppies before you'll want to use my skull as a damn punching bag right?

Or maybe not blogging, and in-turn having privacy free of any judgement, sometimes really does trump throwing it all out there for the positive interactions. I've always said that the good that comes from the supporters and the people that do love you always makes all of the bad shit worth it in the end. But lately, it's honestly just been pretty great not having to worry about all the nonsense. Because it's never really that thrilling to tell your boyfriend some crazy lunatic from who knows where, named who knows what, was so wrapped up in your life that she stalked his shit so hard on the Internet just to find out his age. Just no. I could do without all that psychotic Looney Tune drama for the rest of my life.

Oh, and then there's that other part where you reach the point where you'd rather just be doing something else more fun than typing out a post. When I started this blog I was working a 9-6 in an office at a job that I hated. So sneaking onto my blog and jamming out a post was WAY more exciting than doing actual work. But now I'm running around doing fun school projects and nannying two kids and snuggling my boyfriend. All things that I absolutely prefer to occupy my time with instead of sitting in front of my laptop.

So while I've promised to try to blog more (a few times now), I really just don't know how well it's going to go over. The pessimistic, lazy, no-shits-given side has officially taken over. And that's just the honest truth. And now I think I need a beer, some gummy worms, and some damn happy endorphins. Phew.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Design Launch: Literally Liz

I've been buried deep down in blog design craziness over here lately and I'm loving it like a pair of Hunter boots in a mud. It seems as if the blog slump from the summer months that everyone (including me) succumbed to this year has officially ended. Because everyone jumped right back on the train recently, and with that, wanted a fresh face to welcome winter and the upcoming new year. And this girl isn't complaining one bit because designing pretty things for pretty people is one of my favorite things to do! 

The most recent design was for Liz over at Literally Liz. She's brand new to blogging so she hasn't quite hit the "go" button on releasing her blog to the masses yet, but as soon as she does you'll definitely want to check her out. But for now, just check out the design process and site reveal.

Fancy shmancy, huh? Liz sent me over the "inspiration" picture as well as a couple of her favorite fonts and from there I went to town. She ended up loving the finished product just as much as I did and that always makes me love doing this little side gig of mine.

P.S. If you're interested in starting a blog and need help getting the ball rolling, I'm here to help you! Or if you're already a blogger and just need a face lift, I'm your girl as well. Just head on over to my Design Page and we'll team up to create something perfect for you. P.P.S. Blog designs make pretty perfect Christmas presents as well. Wink wink.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Merry Monday: My Christmas Decor

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun, my fellow Whovillians. There are holiday movies on my TV guide, flannel snowflake sheets trying to nosedive into my cart at Target, Mariah Carey telling me she wants me for Christmas, and the worst pass-off for a Santa I've ever seen posted up in a big red chair at my mall's food court. So with all of that already happening, I figured it was about time to bring back some holiday themed posts to this here blog. A) because they're my most favoritest things ever, duh, and B) because I obviously have nothing else to blog about. 

And thus, I give you "Merry Mondays". Why I chose Mondays (aka the worst days of the week) this year instead of "Festive Fridays", I will never know. Maybe so that I'll actually have a reason to get my ass motivated and in front of this laptop? Sure, we'll go with that.

For my first Merry Monday, we're going to talk Christmas decor. Because with only 38 days left until Santa shimmy's his way down my chimney, I'm already feeling depressed about all of the cheerfulness having to be taken back down again. So I'm trying my darn hardest to have all of the coziness out for as long as I possibly can. Why do Thanksgiving and Christmas have to be so close together?! It's a damn travesty, I tell ya. 

But anyway, without further adieu, I give you my holiday decor. All of it except for the tree, of course. Because that's the only thing I haven't given in to breaking about my "No Christmas before Thanksgiving" rule. That baby's going to have to wait.

Anddd I'm obsessed. I've been contemplating how I can try to convince Trevor to let me leave all of it out until at least Easter. Maybe even Memorial Day. It shouldn't be too hard though, since his response to me texting him Saturday asking how much he'd judge me for putting it all out was "I'd love it!" I think I'll keep him, guys. I really really think I'll keep him.

Now I'm just excited for ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas to start so I can cozy up and watch The Grinch in the holiday wonderland I created. A big Vicky Gunvalson "WOOHOO" for the happiest time of the year!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Gift Ideas For Making Memories

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Halloween is officially over. Duh, it has been for five days now. But anyway, the official end of Halloween apparently coincides with the official beginning of Christmas these days. I'm not sure if it's a generational thing that has caused society to completely skip over both a major holiday and some umpteen amount of calendar days, but we seem to have done it regardless.

I've always been a "Decorate for Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving is over" type of girl, but seeing as I am the resident Queen of Christmas (Ashley bestowed me with that insanely flattering title and I'd like to play it out for as long as I possibly can) I don't totally hate this new trend. Because I could never be a Grinch about cozy decor cluttering the aisles, or Christmas movies playing on repeat, or twinkly lights going up around the neighborhood. I mean, if I could pick any place in this world to live it'd be in Whoville after all..

But with this early Christmas spirit comes the early onset stress that develops from the need to buy presents. Aka the worst part of my favorite holiday. It's just so hard and I'm just so bad at it, guys. Don't even get me started on what the heck I'm going to buy the boyfriend this year. I'll need an entire factory of stress balls to get me through that nonsense soon. But I figured I'd at least try to get ahead of the game by coming up with a few gift suggestions for couples. Maybe I can help out some other damsel in distress?

Except for these aren't your usual "messenger bag, flask, cologne, beer making kit" type of dude gifts. These are more for making adventure and new experiences together. Because they say that happiness comes from making memories, not from owning materialistic things. So you can use these ideas for your own relationship or to give to another couple you have on your "To Buy For" list. Or do neither, I'll be totally fine with it.

1. Snuggle Session
What in the world is a snuggle session, you ask? Well it's basically a chunk of time carved out of your busy schedules to just simply snuggle. Hellelujah, I just got happy thinking about it. And in order to give one of these to someone as a gift, you'll basically just need all the ingredients to set the perfect scene for said snuggling. Grab a basket, stuff it with a fluffy blanket, a delicious smelling candle, a couple movies, and something for the two of you to drink and you're golden.

And of course if you're doing this as a Christmas gift you can obviously make it holiday themed like I did. I scooped all of this up at Target yesterday and it gave me all the happies in the whole wide world. Because that right there is the coziest bucket of Christmas goodness I ever did see.

2. Tickets
This one is pretty straightforward, but I had to add in a bit of non-Erin-is-crazy to keep you with me. Plus, buying tickets for you and your man (or friend or family member or whatever) is one of the easiest gifts to give that will surely bring some new memories with it.

It can be tickets to anything. A concert, a sporting event, an amusement park, a Broadway show, etc. Make a trip out of it and just get out of the house to do something different than the norm. You won't have anything to hold on to at the end of it, but you certainly will have a great time to store away in your memory bank.

3. Picture Book
Purchase a gift card for a photo book ahead of time before you even have the photos to fill it with. This way it will force you and your man, or another couple, to have to take pictures. Because when we don't have an actual need to snap that selfie of us picking apples, we sometimes get caught up in the moment and never do it. And that's all good and dandy until a year passes by and you wish you had a place to go back and look through all of the fun times you've had together.

P.S. I just checked out Shutterfly's site and you can save up to 40% on Photobooks right now. And they totally didn't even pay me to tell you that.

4. 12 Months of Adventure
This gift could be done in a few different ways but the gist of it is to come up with twelve pre-planned dates, one for each month of the year. Ice skating in January, booking a hotel for Valentine's Day in February, hosting a pool party in July, going to the pumpkin patch in October, cutting down a Christmas tree in December, etc. You could put them all in different folders with the months on the front or you could put each of them on a different page of an adventure book like from the movie UP!

There's a great example here of different date ideas that are done in folders. You could tie them all up together with a pretty bow and give that as your gift. Or you could make/buy an adventure book (the one above can be found here) and put each date on a different page with places to add in photos from the dates. The possibilities are endless but this one is a perfect for giving yourself an actual agenda to go out and do things aside from the same date ideas you always do.

5. A Getaway
This is obviously the most expensive option available but also the most exciting. Because what better way is there to experience a new adventure than to travel? I currently have my heart set on doing a snow bunny trip to a ski resort. Do I ski? No. But, for some reason, I've just always wanted to go hang out in a lodge and drink spiked hot chocolate next to the fireplace. Call me crazy, I'll agree with you.

The photo above is exactly what my head keeps picturing. It's the Marriott Resorts in Vail and I think it's calling my name. It'd be even better after the holidays, too, to de-stress from all the family craziness we endure over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their array of spa options are heaven sent for all of that. Obviously you could also pick a much warmer place than Vail if you want to soak of some much needed sun after we get into the nitty gritty of winter. Just go to Pick Your Package to from a bunch of different city options.

And that wraps up a post full of date ideas and/or Christmas gift options for couples. I think it justtt might have helped me come up with something other than a watch to give Trevor in a couple months. Then again, maybe not. Cheers to holiday gift giving stress!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Five For Friday

It's Friday and it's Halloween, so we're going to make this one real quick because this girl still has quite a few errands to run and a costume to put together. Five for Friday, let's do it.

1. Target has Christmas decor out. I repeat, my favorite store has my favorite holiday's decor out. Cue the need for restraints, once again, so that I don't go spend my entire life's fortune in that one damn aisle. First it was the white and gold collection I kept blabbing on about and now it's this Farmhouse Collection because I want the red plaid sherpa blanket and the vintage looking scooter pillow like no other. 

2. I'm loving learning. This past week in my graphic design class, we used InDesign for the first time and I fell madly in love. It's pretty much the end all be all for creating collages like I'm obsessed with doing. And that was exactly what our in-class assignment was this week, so naturally I OD'ed on happiness. We were supposed to pick a single word and then create a mood board/collage of color samples and photos that demonstrated that word. I could pretty much do that all damn day long, especially now that I've learned how to do it rapid-fire style with this Adobe program. Because up until now I've been using Microsoft Paint to do it. Let us all bow our heads in shame for a second, I know. But, see, that's exactly why I'm going back to school. To be a big kid and learn real technology. 

Anyway, I chose the word "Natural" and this was my board:

My professor gave me great compliments on my "eye for design" and a fellow student even said it looked "professional, like a Target add would look". Say what?! Wouldn't that be my dream job, designing layouts of products from my favorite store. But let's just say that it was a great critique session and I was loving class that day. Mark a win down in my book.

3. You need to make these. I put it on Instagram, but if you don't stalk me there I figured I'd put it here because it's just that good and simple. Apple slices, caramel drizzled on top, and then chopped up Snickers sprinkled all over. Nom fest at its finest. Last year I spread peanut butter on the apples instead of caramel and it was also just as good. Whatever toppings you use, just do it, so that way I won't feel as bad about stuffing my face with a 500+ calorie "snack".

4. Halloween is hard. I've been to a Halloween store and Party City twice now. All I've walked out with was a children's bunny set complete with ears and a fluffy tail. And yes I did say "children's". Because yesterday while I was working, a gas and electric guy came to the door and asked me if my parent's were home upon me answering it. I continued to say no, I'm the nanny and he was like "oh damn, I'm sorry, I thought you were like twelve." Mark a fail down in my book for that one.

5. I added a couple new prints to the Etsy shop. It's nothing much, yet, but it's at least something new. The pink and gold party that threw up everywhere has all been wiped up and we're currently looking at some classically black and white simple designs. There's a lot more swirling around in my head and in my draft folder (Even some Christmas themed ones!) but I couldn't bare looking at all those old designs anymore, so I decided to at least put the few that are done up. Go check them out!

And that's just about all I've got going on today. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween. Double double toil and trouble!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sex Dolls, Yankees Tees, and Wineries

The only problem with having really amazing weekends is that they always have to end. Mondays are hell any way you look at them, but they're especially hell after you had a great Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Like I said last Thursday, Trev's college roommate and his girlfriend were coming up from the city to spend the weekend with him. They got into Ithaca right before lunch so we headed to The Ithaca Ale House to grab a bite to eat before heading to Ithaca Beer Co for a couple beers. I highly suggest both options if you're ever in the area and in the market for good food (try the buffalo chicken wing dip) and beer (get the apricot wheat).

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so we got to sit out back on their really pretty patio area and talk about all things college, since all four of us went to Oneonta State. The weird thing is that neither of us couples hung out together as couples when we were actually there. It wasn't until years later that both of us ended up dating fellow alumni. It's funny the way the world works sometimes.

After lunch and beers we headed back to our hometown to shoot guns. No really, that's exactly what we did. Well, the boys did anyway. Trev's friend, Brian, had never shot one before and he wanted to cross it off his bucket list. So Trev got his shotgun out, nailed a homemade paper plate bulls eye across the pond, and showed him the ropes while his girlfriend and I stood nearby plugging our ears and half freaking out that someone would lose a limb.

It was a pretty cute best friend bro moment, for sure. Plus there's just something about guys and guns, am I right?

Later on that night we all headed to Little Venice in our hometown for my Dad's 50th birthday party. There were about a million and a half people there for dinner and then it was on to the bar for way too many shots, a couple gag gifts (insert naked blowup doll lady), quite a few dance moves, and a bit of a hangover for half of the party goers the next morning.

Oh and we can't forget part of the photo shoot that took place between me and Trevor, who lost a bet to me way back in September when the Red Sox lost a series to the Yankees. Side note: how I actually allowed myself to date a Boston fan, I will never know. Side note 2: how I actually get into his Jeep that proudly displays a Red Sox decal on the back blows my damn mind. But anyway, the bet was that he had to buy a Yankees shirt of my choosing and wear it out to the bar if the Yankees won, and me buy a Sox shirt if they won.

The Yankees won, so I won. And I obviously needed to document my win, but in typical boy fashion, he tried to sabotage the whole thing by being goofy and making me die of laughter in every single picture. Thanks babe...

That last one is about 25% of the way there, maybe? Seriousness is not a virtue we possess, apparently.

Saturday's festivities rolled around pretty quickly the next morning and we were off to wine tour around Seneca Lake. Another thing Trevor's friend had never done and needed to check off that list of his. I wasn't really complaining.

For anyone familiar with the Finger Lakes area, this was our mini tour schedule: we started out at the hippy fest that is Rasta Ranch Vineyards, filled with Woodstock memorabilia, home to two port-a-potties for bathrooms, and even one classy gentleman that asked me if I'd like to come into one of them with him. How unfortunate that this was our first stop and I hadn't drank much wine yet or I totally would have taken him up on that offer. Oy vey. Then we stopped at Big Johnson's Tavern which is the complete opposite of a hippie fest in that it's a hick fest. I mean, there wasn't just a taxidermy deer head on the wall; there was an entire taxidermy deer standing in there. It's also not a winery but a hole in the wall dive bar. So a round of PBR later and I was ready for a real winery with real wine glasses and real scenery. And that brought us to Atwater, which has easily become my most favorite because the wine is great and the views are impeccable.

See what I mean? Thus the reason we I needed to indulge in yet another round of photos, because, hello the view, and because, hello, I'm trying to be a better blogger over here.

And there we go being so serious again.

Afterwards, we walked over to Two Goats brew pub which is right next door because we couldn't seem to make up our minds on whether we wanted to house wine or beer for the day. A little bit of both, plus a wine slushy at our last stop, Hazlett's, and then on to two more bars after that for the remainder of the evening, were all the reasons for hangover number two of the weekend. But hey, we definitely planned for a weekend of too much alcohol, so all in all, I think it was quite the success story.

Sunday was spent lounging around watching football, eating Vietnamese in downtown Ithaca, bringing Brian and his girlfriend back to their bus, and then snuggling up and watching SIX HOURS of Game of Thrones together. I told you we were obsessed… And that brings us back to the real world of work and detoxing and more Game of Thrones, because I need to know what happens in all seventeen hundred of those story lines.

Cheers to a great rest of the week, hopefully finding the motivation to study for my midterm that is tomorrow, and maybe actually getting my Halloween costume together before Friday rolls around.