Long Time, No Blog

Hi there! I'd like to apologize for the lack of posts over the past....11 months? Wow. Life has just taken this crazy turn for me. After signing on to be a LuLaRoe retailer, I found that I have so little time to myself.

This business is crazy busy, and requires a LOT of social media presence. And I still work an office job (though I recently went part-time), so between the two, the little time I have winds up being at 11pm at night. And the last thing I feel like doing is sitting online and typing out a blog when I've spent most of the day interacting on various social media platforms. And there hasn't been any energy to create anything crafty. Since last Mother's Day, I've made two cards. It's a little sad, because creating handmade cards and scrapbooking was a passion, and still is, but right now LuLaRoe has taken priority.

Eventually, I am hoping to not have to work an office job. And I know that the pains I'm having right now will be rewarding in the end, when I can finally leave. For now though, I'm straight out, day in, and day out. I have little time to meet up with friends, as I schedule events a month or two ahead. I don't have time or energy to craft. And free time I do have...I'm spending with my family.

We did just come back from an amazing Disney cruise, and I had a solid two weeks with my guys to reconnect. That was important to me. I even requested a private table at dinner, so we didn't have to be "on" with anyone else and could just be with each other.

In St. Kitts

I hope to check in again soon. Perhaps I'll find some time to create something wonderful to share with you guys now that I've cut back my hours at my office job. For now I'm just loving what I'm doing. If you want to come join me and see what I've been doing with my days and nights though, I would love for you to join my group - you can get there through my business page.

I hope you all are well and your families are doing well and you're doing things you love. I miss interacting with you guys through this blog. Someday I'll be back to it! I haven't stopped loving creating...it's just on hold. And I'm (sort of) ok with that.

So. Hi.

Just popping in to say hello. It's been FAR too long, I know. I'm sorry. And this really isn't much of a post either. But I did want to say hi, and that I am thinking of you readers and this blog and someday soon, I hope to be back at it.

The truth is, I haven't crafted since March. I haven't really even stepped foot in my craft room unless I'm using my Mac. And I am missing it, a bit.

But I love, love, LOVE being a LuLaRoe consultant, no matter how busy I am. No matter how little sleep I get. It's fun. I enjoy it. I love when I get a note back from a customer telling me how much they loved their item. It is very hard work. So much work. But I am learning so much. I am making new friends. And I'm feeling very fulfilled.

I miss crafting and card making, and am hoping to make some stuff soon that I can share. I also really want to share pictures from our Disney vacation, which are still on my phone. For now I'm just going to leave you with this simple photo. My tiger lilies are blooming, and this makes me happy. They are my favorite flower.

Life update

Well hey there, long time no chat. Life has been just so crazy for the past six weeks. And it's definitely about to get even crazier.

First, I wanted to share a few photos from our overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge New England on Easter weekend. We decided to surprise Austin for his 5th birthday with a stay at the lodge. They have a giant indoor waterpark, so we knew he would just love it. And he did. He started saying how badly he didn't want to leave the minute we'd checked in!

Great Wolf was amazing. It is expensive, for sure, but as regular Disney visitors, we're kind of used to that. But you do get passes to the water park from 1pm the day of checking until closing the day of checkout. They also did a free Easter egg hunt for the kids, free pictures with the Easter bunny, and they had a free rope course Austin could do (as he wasn't quite tall enough for the big one). They've got an arcade, fun adventure type games, all kinds of different activities in the lobby. We actually played mini golf too. There's a ton of things to do besides the water park. But oh, the water park. It was amazing! There were only two rides my 43" little buddy couldn't go on. And there were plenty of really big rides he could. We especially enjoyed the huge family raft water slide. And Austin has asked many times already if we can go back for his birthday next year.

Here are a few photos from our trip:

So the majority of the past six weeks have been spent on setting up my own business. As you know I signed on to be a LuLaRoe consultant and the journey has been so exciting. It took me about 6.5 weeks until I received the much anticipated onboarding call (and I literally shrieked out loud when I received it!), so I've been working on all the things I need to do to prepare. I've been practicing inventory photos, doing tons of research, ordering clothing racks and all the other supplies I need. I've been stocking up on shipping supplies and I've made an appointment with a CPA. It has been a whirlwind, but it has been so much fun.

This morning I finally received my shipping notification for my initial inventory! I am so excited! If anyone would like to learn more about LuLaRoe, I'd love for you to join my Facebook group. I've got lots of giveaways going on now leading up to my launch party! https://www.facebook.com/groups/lularoemelissawhittaker/


And random life updates - work is...work. That's all I can really say there. I haven't been reading as much as I would like to have been, but I did finally get my pre-order for the 5th book in the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day yesterday! I am hoping to go back and read books 1-4 first.

Austin's starting kindergarten in the fall, which is...ahhh...he's growing up too fast.

We're looking forward to our next Disney trip very soon! I cannot wait! My last vacation was spent connected to work because of all the craziness with my company being acquired, so I'm very excited to be able to completely disconnect from the world.

Other than that, we're just hoping for spring to get here and stay! We'd been teased with some really nice warm weather and them bam, snow this week. And it's super cold! Someone please tell Mother Nature it's April! :)

I hope you guys have been well!

99 Question No One Asks Tag

Considering myself tagged by Shannon on this one...

1:Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Open - I need to hear Austin and the kitties would not be having any of that.

2:Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
Yes, but only if it's a nice brand (like the ones on the Disney cruise)

3:Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
Out, I rarely even make my bed.

4:Have you ever stolen a street sign before?
No, and I wouldn't, now that I realize that my tax dollars pay for those street signs!

5:Do you like to use post-it notes?
Yes! I am an avid post-it note user. They are especially good for cleaning your teeth ;)

6:Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
All the time!

7:Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of a bees?
If you don't already know the answer to this question (hint, I have a phobia of bees), then you don't know me at all!

8:Do you have freckles?
No, I do not.

9:Do you always smile for pictures?
I try! I have a wonky smile though.

10:What is your biggest pet peeve?
I have way too many to pick the biggest. But drivers who don't use their turn signal is pretty high up on the list.

11:Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
I have a Fitbit for that.

12:Have you ever peed in the woods?
Probably, we camped when I was a kid.

13:What about pooped in the woods?
No, never.

14:Do you ever dance even if theres no music playing?
Not usually.

15:Do you chew your pens and pencils?

16:How many people have you slept with this week?
Actually "slept" with? One human, two kitties. If you mean the dirty version...still just one human.

17:What size is your bed?
A queen, but hoping to upgrade to a king soon.

18:What is your Song of the week?
I have a soft spot for Happy, even after all this time.

19:Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
Not past age 10.

20:Do you still watch cartoons?
The Simpsons, sometimes, and Disney movies. I used to LOVE Looney Tunes and Garfield and Friends and Mighty Mouse and Tiny Tunes. But I don't have time for that anymore.

21:Whats your least favorite movie?
There are a few bad ones out there. The Hottie and the Nottie and I Know Who Killed Me top the list.

22:Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
I like Shannon's Oak Island answer here. But I'd probably just bury it in like, my back yard. So I could dig it up and look at it and reassure myself it was still there. Plus who would ever think to dig up treasure in my backyard? So it would probably be pretty safe.

23:What do you drink with dinner?
Water, almost always.

24:What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
BBQ sauce!

25:What is your favorite food?
Any sort of fried potato.

26:What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Independence Day, Crossroads, Beaches, Mrs. Doubtfire

27:Last person you kissed/kissed you?

28:Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
Yes, Girl Scout.

29:Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
No way.

30:When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I think I sent one to Shannon a few years ago!

31:Can you change the oil on a car?
Nope, but I have my dad for that.

32:Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Yes, but I fought the law and I won!

33:Ever ran out of gas?
Yes, once. And Brad drove by me and waved at me while I sat on the side of the road. Ass.

34:Favorite kind of sandwich?
Egg salad or chicken salad.

35:Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Hash Browns, Home Fries

36:What is your usual bedtime?

37:Are you lazy?
Not generally, but some days.

38:When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
Rainbow Bright was one of the costumes!

39:What is your Chinese astrological sign?
A Cock! (April 1981)

40:How many languages can you speak?
English, but I do know a tiny bit of Spanish.

41:Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
A bunch of them - they were free with Verizon points.

42:Which are better legos or lincoln logs?
Legos all the way!

43:Are you stubborn?
Not really.

44:Who is better...Leno or Letterman?

45:Ever watch soap operas?
Yes, I loved Days of Our Lives when I was a teenager into college.

46:Are you afraid of heights?
Not really. My husband is though!

47:Do you sing in the car?
Yep! Loud and proud.

48:Do you sing in the shower?

49:Do you dance in the car?

50:Ever used a gun?
No, I hate guns so much.

51:Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
One of Austin's photo shoots. Probably about a year ago.

52:Do you think musicals are cheesy?
They aren't something I seek out but I usually enjoy them.

53:Is Christmas stressful?
My most stressful time of the year, absolutely.

54:Ever eat a pierogi?
I'm not sure, I think so.

55:Favorite type of fruit pie?
Sweet cherry pie.

56:Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?

57:Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, and I hope they exist because I'm scared to not exist anymore when I die.

58:Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?

59:Take a vitamin daily?
I try to remember but usually fail.

60:Wear slippers?

61:Wear a bath robe?
Yes, it is so cozy.

62:What do you wear to bed?
PJ's. Usually ugly old lady fleece ones that are so not at all sexy to my husband.

63:First concert?
I believe it was Shania Twain, but I went to a ton of concerts the last few years of high school so I can't remember for sure.

64:Wal-Mart, Target or Kmart?
Target, obv.

65:Nike or Adidas?

66:Cheetos Or Fritos?
Crunchy Cheetos!

67:Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?
I love both equally! I don't play favorites!

68:Ever hear of the group Tres Bien?

69:Ever take dance lessons?

70:Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
No, he'll always be a nerd (aka a chemist)

71:Can you curl your tongue?
Yes, I can.

72:Ever won a spelling bee?
Yeah, in my elementary school, once.

73:Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Sort of, I cry at heartwarming commercials or news stories sometimes.

74:Own any record albums?

75:Own a record player?
Not anymore.

76:Regularly burn incense?

77:Ever been in love?
  I'm in love with my husband!

78:Who would you like to see in concert?
Britney again! Garth again! I would have LOVED to have seen Michael Jackson - was going to get tickets until he died (so sad!). I also would love to see Phil Collins as himself, not as Genesis.

79:What was the last concert you saw?

80:Hot tea or cold tea?
Iced tea.

81:Tea or coffee?

82:Sugar or snickerdoodles?
Sugar, but I LOVE me some Snickerdoodle Iced Coffee from Dunks!

83:Can you swim well?
Fairly well.

84:Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?
Yea, I can 

85:Are you patient?
Nope. Not even a little bit.

86:DJ or band, at a wedding?
I made my own iPod mix, but if I did it again, I'd pick a DJ.

87:Ever won a contest?
A few! Mostly radio call ins. Some giveaways.

88:Ever have plastic surgery?

89:Which are better black or green olives?
They both suck.

90:Can you knit or crochet?

91:Best room for a fireplace?
The livingroom.

92:Do you want to get married?
I AM Ironman. I mean. Married.

93:If married, how long have you been married?
7 years this April!

94:Who was your HS crush?
His name was Erik...

95:Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
Any woman who tells you they don't is lying!

96:Do you have kids?
Yes! I have a son who I love more than anything else in the world, Austin. I also have a beautiful and talented stepdaughter, Summer.

97:Do you want kids?
No more, only Austin.

98:Whats your favorite color?
Any version of teal or aqua.

99:Do you miss anyone right now?
I miss Daredevil. That's the harsh reality you face after binge watching a full season of a show in a single weekend.

Come Back Again Another Day

Today I have a digi page to share with you that I am just so over the moon happy with!

I'd forgotten about these pictures. Of my little boy in his cute little bright yellow raincoat. Just melts me seeing how much he's grown up since these photos.

I used the newest adorable element pack from Amber LaBau, the Handwritten | Spring stamps and stickers. She's got several of these packs that coordinate and they are some of my very favorite things to use on my pages. 

I also used her Umbrellas Overhead kit and pocket cards on this page. Love the colors and patterns. The template is one of the Stitched Down templates from Laura Passage, which you can find here.

And guess what. Today is Amber's birthday! To celebrate, she's having a flash sale today only for 32% off her shop at The Lilypad! So you can grab these beauties and so many others for a super price! Get shopping people!

Download Your Freebies Now!

Guys - my freebie hosting site renewal comes up in April and given the reduced frequency in sharing these files, I can't justify paying for the renewal for another year this time.

As of April 1st, the freebies on the site will not be accessible. So, go grab them now. I likely will bundle the files into my Etsy shop for a super low price (enough to cover the listing fees and PayPal fees only) for anyone who stumbles upon my blog and wants an older freebie. I'm looking into alternatives but so far I haven't found an option.

So, go over to my Freebie page and grab whatever you'd like totally FREE before April 1st. 

Birthday Card For My Mom (Use Up Those Scraps!)

My mom's birthday is this week, and I made her a super simple, super cheerful birthday card using scraps! I have a bin of my solid scraps (separate from patterned paper scraps), so I ended up using a bunch of the colors with the Bunch of Flowers dies from Elizabeth Craft Designs. I just ran one of the smaller flowers through my Big Shot and came up with a rainbow of pretty petals to put on my card. I attached them using Ranger Multi Matte Medium.

Underneath the flowers I stamped 'happy birthday' with the Simon Says Stamp Handwritten Borders stamp set.

To finish off the card I added little pearls (also using the Multi Matte Medium). So fun and suuuuuper easy to do!

A Little Digi Scrapping!

First of all, I just want to thank everyone who commented or emailed about my anxiety post. It really helps to know that some of the thoughts that I have are the same thoughts others have. It makes me feel just a little less crazy. Your comments meant a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to send your support. You guys are awesome.

On to a happier topic though. I did a little digi scrapping yesterday. I wanted to document signing up to be a LuLaRoe consultant, so I thought I would do a page that included the 'welcome' email I received. This is a really big step I'm taking and I thought it deserved a pretty page.

I used a bunch of older releases from Amber LaBau to make this. I am on her creative team because I absolutely love her products. The colors and designs that Amber uses are almost always right up my alley, so it felt natural to grab a few of her products for this page.

The template is an older freebie that Amber had released. I don't think that it's still available. I just liked the layers of paper and that circle layer in the background. I used much of the A Daring Adventure collab between Amber and Sara Gleason. I added a little pink flower from  Across The Miles, and my favorite alpha, Cork-abet. The cork is super versatile. I've used it on several pages.

This page was fun because this new adventure is really exciting. I'm still eagerly awaiting my onboarding phone call, but until then I've been getting everything set up and ready to roll when my inventory arrives!

Ramblings About Anxiety

I found this image online on a funny images website. I have no idea who was the original artist, but it is just so fitting. So whoever you are, I love what you've done here.

If you follow me on Instagram (and I think I have mentioned it a few times here), you know that I have an anxiety disorder. I've been to therapy, I've previously tried medication. I currently have a prescription for Ativan, which I've only thankfully used once. There are times when my anxiety is greatly reduced (most noticeably when I'm actively seeing a therapist about it, or during the warmer months), and times when my anxiety is in full swing (like right now, in the dead of winter). The holiday season through March is the worst time of year for me.

The majority of my anxiety is health related. I live in daily fear of myself or one of my loved ones dying. Brad used to fall asleep a lot on the couch downstairs until I confided in him that when he does that I am upstairs worrying that he's died and I am too scared to go downstairs and check on him. I think every twinge is cancer or a blood clot or that the ice pick headaches I get are precursors to an aneurysm. Dr. Google is dangerous. I feel pain, I consult Dr. Google. Dr. Google tells me I'm going to die and should see a doctor immediately. Or Dr. Google tells me that there's no correlation between ice pick headaches and aneurysms but I don't believe him.

Or I start a new medication, and read that it may have a tiny increased risk of blood clots and I immediately think that I've got one. Like right now. I've been on something for about three weeks and since then, mysteriously, my calves (both of them, alternating), have these little aches in them. But I have zero other symptoms of blood clots. So of course I don't think, "Oh, good, no swelling, etc, I'm fine." No, I think "I bet I'm in that small percentile that has NO symptoms and I'm going to die."

Seriously folks. These are the thoughts that run through my head all day, every day. The thoughts that keep me up at night.

The funny thing is, I've had some weird "numbness" which is not real numbness in my feet as well. They're not numb, I can feel the tiniest touch if I touch my feet or toes. They don't hurt, like pins and needles. They're not week. But they tingle. And Dr. Google tells me that muscle aches, tingling feet, those are all symptoms of....anxiety.

But I don't believe him.

Here's a great example for you on how I think. There's a history of breast cancer in my family, and I have dense breast tissue, so I've had two mammograms now, a year apart (just had one in August). Both have come back perfect, but they include a note about said dense tissue. Am I relieved I don't have cancer? No. I think "what if they missed it because of the denseness of the tissue?" How messed up is that?! (And yes, I could get the genetic testing but I'm too freaked out by what the result may be and what I would then do with that information to get it done. Really, that would only worsen my anxiety).  

Being inside my head SUCKS. I hate these thoughts. But I also know daily medication is not for me. As I said, I've tried that, and the side effects are not worth it when I know I can (mostly) control this with therapy. The problem is, I lost my really great therapist when she went out of network, and I cannot afford her fees. And I'm too nervous to find a new therapist. I have been able to overcome some of this anxiety on my own before with exercise and distractions, and, gosh darn it, SUNSHINE. Stupid New England winters. We can't logistically move, not while Austin is growing up, so I've got to find some way to deal with this weather every year. But it is not good for my mental health.

I have no real point to posting this other than to share with you the craziness that exists inside my brain every day, and this really is only just breaking the surface. Things are totally messed up in here. Living with constant worry and fear is just really hard. 

Thanks for letting me vent a little.

A New Direction

 Old pic with no relevance to this post, but I just wanted some sunshine :)

Weather changes. Jobs change. Interests change. Everything changes. Change can be good. Change can be bad. Change is ahead for me, again. Hopefully this is a good change.

After several months of debate back and forth, I've decided (with Brad's support, of course) to sign up to be a LuLaRoe consultant. I'm up to 50 pieces in my wardrobe, simply out of pure love for the product. As I've posted about before, I am obsessed with this clothing line. I've never had such a passion for the clothes I wear before. I pick out a piece of LuLaRoe (or two) to wear nearly every single day. And up until last night, I didn't have any purpose other than that the clothes make me feel good about myself. Given all of these feelings, I've thought hard about whether to be a consultant for several months. I've even had elaborate dreams about setting up my own business. My concerns have always been time and financial. However after lots of discussion with the woman who turned me on to these clothes, with friends and with family, this does make sense for me/us at this time. While this will be my business, it will include involvement from Brad (especially on the finance side), so we had to be in full agreement. Edited to add here - I'll still have my full time job too, so Brad will also need to be involved because this will take lots of time at night and on weekends.

I'm only just starting the setup process and will share more details as I have them, but if you are interested then I hope you'll follow me as I launch. And if not, I promise I won't be overwhelming the blog here with posts about LuLaRoe. (Most likely just a note on where to find me and a link in my sidebar). That's not the purpose of this blog.

Which brings me to the next change, and that involves me being honest here. I've always tried to be open and honest on this blog. I may not share every little thing that crosses my mind (because, let's face it, I've got anxiety problems that you all don't want to hear about routinely), but I do try to express how I feel as honestly as I can.

Last year my posting on this blog was lacking, big time. I kept thinking it was because I didn't have enough time. I'd been reading, so I didn't have time to craft. The issue wasn't time though. It was desire. When given the choice between crafting for the blog or reading...I chose reading. Because it made me happy.

This year I put up a blog schedule plan in hopes it would help me get back to regular crafting and blogging. For the most part I kept up with it...for 5 weeks. You'll note there was no digi page post yesterday. I sat in front of my Mac on Thursday night for two hours trying to find a digital template I wanted to use with a few older photos I thought would be nice to scrap. I tried so hard. The idea that I was "letting the blog down" was killing me. In the end it got late and I just gave up.

It's not that I don't want to craft. And it's not that I don't want to blog. I still LOVE making handmade cards. I love stamping and crafting. I love memory keeping. I love sharing my work here. I think what I don't love? Is feeling like I have to do it on a certain schedule, or because I have to post it on my blog to keep this blog active. That is NOT fun. I should post here because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. No other social platform out there makes me feel as tied down as this blog, and I am not sure why that is. I didn't start this blog 5 years ago for anything other than a place to write my thoughts about how much pregnancy sucks and share pictures of my new son with my friends. It evolved when I fell hardcore into Project Life and then I felt like I had to keep up with it.

I have said it before and will continue to say that I truly appreciate all the people who DO read this blog regularly and have stuck with me through a very inactive year last year. You guys are awesome and thank you for putting up with my crap.

But I need to take a step back. I'm not quitting the blog. I'm just not going to force myself to post anymore just to keep active. (You guys can subscribe via email or follow Facebook or Instagram if you want to be notified of posts). I am still making cards, I'm still working on my wedding album, and I'm still going to do my digital 2016 Project Life book. But I'm going to go back to posting when I want to share something with my friends and readers. The whole blog schedule thing is off the table. I admit defeat.

Right now...I'm REALLY into LLR. And life's too short to not be doing what you enjoy, even if what you enjoy is a phase that eventually changes into something else. Right now this is my new focus, so I'm embracing the changes that will come along with it while it's fun and enjoyable for me. When it isn't anymore, then there will always be something else. We should all be doing what we actually enjoy, not what we feel we should enjoy.

Again, thank you guys for being there and being awesome.