Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Etsy Review: Suzie Automatic

After purchasing my Powerbook, one of the first things I did was search Etsy for a decal. I've never been one to decorate things with stickers or anything that wasn't originally on the product. I hate bumper stickers, and I generally wouldn't purchase this decal. My way of thinking about decals changed since I purchased my laptop used, it's about 5 years old (still super fast, gotta love Macs) and in perfect condition. It has a few scratches so I figured I could have some fun and be expressive with my Powerbook. Decals are a fun way to express yourself and give your inanimate objects some life!
I came across Suzie Automatic in the searches on Etsy since she is the only decal sellers that will still make things to fit the Powerbook and iBook, the pre-Intel Macs. I'm sure the backlit apple on all Macs hasn't changed in size, but with this decal that goes to the edge of the case, it was specific to my Powerbook. 
I purchased the Locket Decal in red, my favorite color. I love the locket design and pearls, it's very "Sally", pictured above. If I would have picked any other decal in her shop, it'd be this one, the Antler on the Apple.
It came in the mail when I was in Michigan. I found it on my coffee table yesterday while I was unpacking and almost completely forgot about it! What a nice surprise to brighten my day with this terrible cold I have.
The instructions were so easy to follow and included with the decal. She also provided a small tester decal to practice before applying the one that matters. Of course, I just went right for this! It was very easy to apply and my Powerbook is definitely the coolest laptop in the room. 
I would recommend this Etsy seller! A+
If I could have afforded to buy myself a Macbook, I would have gotten this for the keyboard, above, from The Sticker Shop. The rainbow keys are so fun! Kaylah from The Dainty Squid has this on her Macbook and I'm so jealous.

Some other Etsy shops with fun decals:
-Lana Kole, home and laptop decals.
-Sticker Brand, I love this Eagle wall decal.
-Leo Little Lion, cute nursery decals, I love this one.

Sidenote: it is so nice to blog out of the house! I'm currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop, New Moon Cafe, with a bowl of creamy zucchini with feta and bacon and my mango pineapple smoothie with apple juice. Gotta kick this cold and eat healthy!

Oh yeah. And this is my 200th blog entry! Woo hoo.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Down on the farm..

Last Friday my mother, sister and I made a trip to Ithaca. It's a small farming town in the center of the Michigan where my mother grew up. My aunt, and her family still live in the farmhouse that my great-great-grandfather built. My grandfather still lives in Ithaca, and the farm is a Michigan Centennial Farm now. When my mother was a kid he raised hogs and farmed the 80 acres here.

Feeding Lucy, their Appaloosa, with my Grandpa Matt.

My mother, Roxanne.

Lucy loved being brushed.

I sat on her without a saddle for a while. Every move she made I was sooo afraid I'd fall off! She was eating the whole time, which meant she wasn't walking too much. Appaloosas are very fast horses and Lucy can fly. Thankfully her tummy was full, so she wasn't bucking me off of her. Skinny jeans and TOMs aren't the greatest for riding.

The view from behind the barn. The woods to the right is where my mother hunts. Yeah, that's right, my mom hunts deer. I remember as a kid being really freaked out when she'd butcher the deer in the garage. One time she was cutting off the antlers to mount as a trophy. As soon as I walked into the garage, the brains hit the cement like a pile of spaghetti. Eeek! Scarred for life. Venison is amazing though, so I never refuse the meat family gives me.

Grandpa photo-bombing Rachael's picture. My grandpa Matt is 84 and still as lively as ever! He's a master woodworker, with a small workshop on the road, close to the house. Everyday he drives 5 miles from town, where he lives, and works on all kinds of furniture, shelves, toys, etc. Lately, he has been making a lot of wooden toy cars for kids. Since he's a Shriner, he gives them away all year round.

Lucy is so beautiful! I was told she is very temperamental, but she let me do whatever I wanted. I loved petting her face and feeding her. Horses are so amazing.

My aunt used to have a ton of chickens but probably butchered them or sold them. I remember when I'd visit in the summers, I'd spend a week at the farm. Every morning we'd go outside and get eggs from the chicken, feed them, feed the horses, and then start the day. You haven't had eggs until you've had them the day they were hatched and fresh from a farm!

My aunt Rhonda said Lucy, the horse, loves having a chicken around for a friend. Their last chicken walked around with her all day. It is no longer alive, I'm not sure what happened, so they got these two little babies.

I would love to someday have a small farm with a horse, goats, chickens, and other farm animals. Grow my food and work from home. Wouldn't that be amazing!? The problem with Michigan farms is the weather, you can only have crops certain times of the year. My mom, Rachael, and I were joking about starting a family commune. Each of us with our own house 100 or so yards apart, grow food, have kids, share everything. We'd definitely need separate houses, and mine would probably be pink.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thrifting in Muskegon

It's what I've been missing, Valueland. My favorite thrift store in Muskegon. I've been shopping here since I can remember. It opened when I was 9 or 10 maybe. It's where I bought most of my high school clothes, my wedding dress (yes, I already have it, bought it when I was 18 for $10), the love seat of all love seats that I had in my dorm and first apartments, dishes and home accessories I still have, and more. It's an amazing store! We had the best time here last time I was home.

After 15 minutes, our cart was already filling up!

Looking at jewelry. The best part about this store, they always have things 50% off their marked price. This week, all white and green tags were on sale. Some thrift stores coordinte their color coded tags with the time they're been there, so you only get the leftover things on sale, but Vlueland is completely random, and it changes every week. I used to love going on Mondays and getting the things I had passed on the week before that would then be half off!

And isn't it great how everything is sorted by color! The woman who runs this store is also named Sally, I think that explains it. She's a smart lady. It's funny when they yell for her and I turn my head. Not many Sallys in the world these days.

An added bonus, my best friend from college and roommate, Stephanie was in Muskegon for the day! She is a lawyer in Detriot and had some meetings in town for the banks she represents. Perfect timing! I haven't seen her since we went to Vegas last year. It had been way too long. We picked out some fun clothes, caught up a little on things we've missed in the last year.

A Pengo silk screen canvas Rachael was dying to get. She has a thing for sailboats. It was $25, but the trouble would be getting it home to Florida. I think she should have bought it anyways. Maybe we'll go back and it will still be there. It's an off-brand Marushka, silk screen canvases from the 60s and 70s. They were really popular back then, and they were made right here in West Michigan. I have been collecting Marushkas over the years and I have a few Pengos at home as well.

Isn't this bathing suit amazing?! I really hope it fits. The elastic along the top needs to be replaced, but otherwise it should fit. I may have to take it in a little, but that's not too hard. I love the print! The only problem I foresee is it being too short for my long torso. We'll see.

A little key chain phone book. If I didn't have a cell phone this would be really handy. I could have gotten it but I can't get everything that is awesome and clever. Have to curtail my hoarding habits when I can.

A cute new necklace and Stephanie and I. We didn't take many pictures since Rachael got out her DSLR and we realized I never replaced the memory card. Ha. Oops. My iPhone sufficed. I'm so glad I got to see Stephanie! AND SHE'S COMING TO VISIT ME IN GEORGIA SOON! Ah! I can't wait. I really missed her.

We went to Joan's Upscale Resale after Valueland and Rachael found a really cute dress for the wedding this weekend. I bought a little hat, shoes, and a purse throughout the day of shopping. So we're ready to go. I just have to drop my dress off at the dry cleaners and figure out how to do an updo with the little white wedding hat I bought. 

I can't wait! Don't worry, I'll be sure to post pictures. How is everyone's week going so far?

Pictures taken by Rachael.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Plumbing 101

While most children buy their mother something nice to show their appreciation, a manicure, a nice sweater, etc, we changed all the pipes in her house in a day! Her house was built in 1947, a quaint three bedroom house in Norton Shores. The water pressure has always been a problem since the pipes were still the originals when the house was built. Metal pipes corrode and the space for water to flow gets smaller and smaller. Picture swiss cheese but brown and red buildup, it's pretty gross.
Since my sister and I are home for the week, and my dad and brother had the day off, we thought we'd surprise her and do all this while she was at work. To speak to the how incredible my mother is, my parents have been divorced since I was 8, and my dad still spent the day helping us. 
Well, he was the expert since he's done this many times. My dad taught us how to do it everything and we were his assistants. My parents built a house together when I was a kid, and my mother always tells me how she ran plumbing through the entire house while my dad did the electrical. My parents are awesome. 
My job: gluing all the CPVC pipes together. First you use the purple primer one each piece, then the cement. It's not actually glue, it creates a chemical reaction that bonds the pipes together. So interesting! I learned so much yesterday!
Each container came with the brush in it. This is the purple primer. It got everywhere! And once it gets on something, it will never come off! It takes gasoline to get it off your skin, ew.
Who knew plumbing would be so fun?!
 A corroded pipe.
Squirt coming down to check on things and get into everything. He's a bad cat. We kept shoeing him away. He didn't like the noise of cutting out the old pipes, but he'd come down every half hour to be nosey. He didn't like my rubber gloves haha.
All the pipes that we removed from the house. It was such a pain getting them out! My dad and brother were the muscle, cutting them out with an electric saw. We replaced both the hot and cold water lines. And ohmigoodness, the new water pressure is amazing!
My mom cried when she saw what we did. It was great spending a day doing something we knew she'd really appreciate. 
Now time to go thrifting. It's a rainy gross day here, perfect day for shopping! Hope you are all enjoying your week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back in Michigan!

It's finally here. I'm back in Michigan!! Rachael and I flew in yesterday afternoon; we both met in Atlanta and had the same flight back to Grand Rapids. I'd missed Rachael. We spent a year living together before she moved to Florida in October of last year for her new assignment in the Navy.

Neither of us have been home in Michigan since last summer and it was time for a much needed vacation. I was really itching to get out of Georgia for a week! Oh how great it is that my "job" at the bar is easy to get vacation from. A co-worker took my happy hour shifts for the week, and I put my Etsy shop on vacation. I love being self-employed.

After a family get together at my mom's house all day today, Rachael and I took a quick trip down to Pere Marquette for some photos. I have to share with you all how beautiful my hometown is! I am so lucky to have grown up a mile away from Lake Michigan until the day I went away to college. It is so peaceful.

When I lived here and I was upset or depressed, I'd come and sit in the sand, bury my legs, listen to the waves. It was a great way to clear my head and solve whatever bothered me. People that live near large bodies of water have no reason to be upset! Seriously. I miss this lake like crazy!

This beach is about two miles from my mother's house. It is strange how the beach looks just a little different every time I come home. The water receded about 100 feet this year. Last year this beach was so much feet closer to the boardwalk and where I'm standing was covered in water. The water filtration plant for Norton Shores is nearby and the city of Muskegon gets their city water from the lake. Maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know.

Although it was a little overcast we still had our fun. It's chilly here compared to what I'm used to in Georgia. Rachael and I are both very spoiled living in such warm climates. I think I'm adjusting pretty well. But since it was in the 60s and breezy, Rach was freezing!

I love chasing seagulls! So much fun. I like to yell and squak at them. Good thing there weren't many people around or I probably would have gotten some funny looks. Hehe. Seagulls are strange and no one likes them (unless you count the thrill of chasing them). They're nice in pictures but horrible if you're trying to enjoy a day at the beach.

Toes in the sand! But ew, zebra muscles shells. Such a nasty pest in the Great Lakes. They were brought over here on the bottoms of freight ships, and they multiply like crazy since this isn't their natural habitat. They have been a nuisance in the Great Lakes for decades!

Sometimes I wish I still lived here. This (Lake Michigan) and family are the only highlights of this town. It's so sad coming home to a depressed Michigan. Jobs are non-existent! Unemployment is still around 20%. The recession hit this town really hard.

My brother told me yesterday he read a statistic that said 50% of people age 20-28 have moved out of Muskegon. I think it has to be more than that! We went to a local bar last night, a Saturday night, and there were less than 15 people there! Ten years ago it would have been packed. I think I spotted someone I knew from high school but otherwise everyone was in their 30s. Michigan is going to see a huge hole in it's work force in the next 10-15 years. I think this town will either shrink and have more problems, or start to have a resurgence and a lot more people will move back. Hopefully the latter.

I do know one thing, I can't move back here until something changes. So get your act together, Michigan, I MISS YOU!

For now I'll just enjoy my time in Michigan and try not to notice it's problems. I'm so happy to see my mother! Ohmigoodness I missed her! I burst into tears when she met us at the airport. I don't know how I've managed to stay sane without seeing her for the past 10 months. And I know she is happy to have us home, even if just for a little while.

Rachael, looking beautiful as ever. I bought this dress at Plato's closet a few weeks ago for $6! I am so good at finding bargains! It looks so much better on Rachael than it does on me, so it is now hers. Who am I kidding though, even if I had just let her wear the dress, I wasn't going to get it back. Sisterly "borrowing" means taking and now getting it back for months or years.

Boy that water was C-H-I-L-L-Y!!

Funniest thing on our flight to Grand Rapids. The gentleman sitting next to me and I had some great conversation, and Rachael was sitting in front of him. She turned around to ask to borrow my iPhone (she wanted to listen to Florence and the Machine, love them!) and he said, "BOY, you two realllly look alike!" She's a blonder (even though she identifies herself brunette) version of myself.

And look at the lengths she goes to for my blog. Such a great sister. She's freezing in her beautiful dress and getting sandy knees. We have a week full of exciting blogs entries planned! She'd be a great business partner if only I made good money and she wasn't in the Navy!

Tomorrow we were going to take a bike ride around Muskegon Lake and up into North Muskegon, an amazing 15 mile ride along the most beautiful boardwalks, but it's "going to be cold" so I think we'll go thrifting instead. I'm on a mission to find a little hat to go with my vintage yellow dress for the wedding we are attending this weekend. A little headband style hat to compliment the style of the 60s dress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Etsy Review: Dandyrions

I stumbled upon this etsy shop, Dandyrions, while reading Friday Favorites on  The Dainty Squid. I fell in love this Wrapped in Fox t-shirt right away. 

The felt fox design is hand sewn on a Threads for Thought organic cotton t-shirt. The craftsmanship is amazing. I ordered a t-shirt in black. Lisa, the head of Dandyrions, even let me know when she mailed out the shirt. I love Etsy sellers that communicate with the customer well. I checked the mail every morning after that to see if it had arrived. When it did, I wore it right away. This is definitely one of my favorite Etsy purchases ever. I LOVE THIS SHIRT!!

The detail of the fox is amazing; the little eyes are glass beads! And the cotton is so comfortable. I definitely recommend this shop! These shirts are so amazing and different. And I will definitely be ordering more of these t-shirts from the Threads for Thought website.

They come in all different colors! Check out Lisa's shop here.