Friday, April 30, 2010

Fencing Tournaments, Car Wrecks and a Hurt Hand

This weekend was busy! As the title states I competed in a fencing tournament (saber, my favorite slashing sport) my car was hit (2nd time in under six months, I wasn’t in it both times) and my hand hurts like a you know what.

Saturday started out as any other one does, myself giving fencing instruction. But unlike other Saturdays the lesson ended with an ‘oh crap that tournaments today’! bit of a freak-out. After getting it under control and shamefully debating if I was even going to attend, I re-made up my mind and decided that I’d go.

Some how or another, even after all the times spent putting close away, Mike still doesn’t seem to know where my socks go. Heck, I would have been happy if they were even in the universal sock drawer. I ended up leaving the house a 15 minutes later than I planned, had to pick up mula to pay for the event and by the time I got there the event should have already started (they where nice enough to hold it up for me). I spent 5 minutes in the parking lot trying to beat my fencing bag into submission as I couldn’t seem to get my weapons out of the case. After pulling a Mike as I like to call it, I beat it into submission and was finally able to get the required weapons from the trunk.

I did reasonably well in the pools (where everyone fences each other). Winning 2 out of 5 and losing another 2, 5-4 and my very first bout 5-2. I was set to take the win in the DE (direct elimination) as I felt reasonably confident that I could take the guy I beat in the pools when disaster hit and I lost the DE, 15-10. Although when walking away from the strip it felt more like 15-2. I just couldn’t seem to get a hand up on the guy. Afterwards I was given some constructive comments by the ref how suggested that I got timed out (its an electric setup) and that I need to work more on a fast parry-repost if I want to try and stop it from happening again. Note to self, work on quicker parry-repost and if I’m feeling like it, take the guy out before the next tournament.

I had the misfortune of getting hit in the hand when fencing and the blade whipped down and hit between my knuckle and the top of the middle finger (and no, I didn’t walk around with it pointed up showing everyone). The initial bruise wasn’t a big deal but know that the knuckles back to its original color the soft tissue is dark blue and hurts more then the initial bruise. I’m such a baby. It also unseated my diamond on my engagement ring (please look over the fact that I was even wearing jewelry on my fencing hand). Fortunally we’re completely covered on the ring and it’s currently getting fixed right now. I can’t wait to get it back. It feels so funny not wearing the thing.

Saturday night, Mike went to Seattle to meet with some of his friends and while he was on the way up, ended up getting rear ended. And it gets worse…in my car! That’s two cars in less than six months that have been hit and both without me in them (the first was totaled right outside my house when a guy ran into the front of the car then drove off). Currently it’s in the shop getting fixed while the guys at fault insurance tries to deny the claim or even try to set one up. So mean while, I’ll probably be out $500 until they approve it, which might be forever.

I renewed my Mary-Kay consultant license and hopefully this year I’ll actually do something with it (one can only hope). Seems not so smart, but I’ll defiantly be using it to help save for the wedding which is almost a year away. I also applied for a business license, but am waiting to finish it until I get my PO Box set up as I want that to be my shipping address. I finally went through and the change of address with USPS which even though they used to claim it was free, can only be done on line and they charge you $1 to do it. Which really isn’t a biggy but I had to do it twice since two people moved, with different last names and you can’t do batch if they all don’t have the same last name.

Last weekend we also purchased a new computer/printer set from a large chain electronics store (here’s a hint, its blue) and walked away with a desktop computer, a laptop, printer/scanner and wireless router for $1200 plus tax and additional product insurance. They are also having a special right now on 18 months, zero interest if paid in full. We defiantly took advantage of that. We’ve had it a week now and it’s sad to say, but I haven’t actually gotten on any of the equipment. Should probably do that this weekend.

And yes, another book review (not one of the ones I promised before but a new one):

The Treasure Keeper
By Shana Abe

I’ve never read one of her books before and I saw the cover and just had to see if it was any good. When I couldn’t put it down in the book store, I decided that I needed to get it. I was enamored with the book the inter way through. When reading it, it felt as if it was from a first person point of view but it took me a bit to realize, it was actually third person point of view. This is probably due to the journal entries in the first part of the book.

This book is about a you drakon (dragon) with powers that most female dragons don’t receive and when her fiancĂ© goes missing, takes off on her own to find him against the rules of the clan. Zoe finds herself in Paris trying to pick up the last pieces of Hayden’s trail when she is haunted by another of her childhood friends shade that just won’t leave her alone. Using her unique powers she searches for the lost men her life and the evil that could destroy everything she’s cared about.

My main negative comment about this story is that her fiancĂ© Hayden kept putting off their wedding and completing in physical acts and I personally felt that not a strong enough reason was provided by the author to explain this. At first he seemed like his collar was too tight around his neck and then more relaxed later on and his personality was stronger then the reason she provided. Perhaps I don’t know enough about the subcultures in the series, but it wasn’t necessarily stressed that the females and males hadn’t been with other partners or each other before marriage. The other issue was how Hayden who was such a snob towards other dragons, didn’t seem unnatural to later be hanging out with one. This is probably back story from another, but Zoe didn’t think it was strange either. PS- still not sure what the title had to do with the story.

Overall I give it a 4 out of 5 for storyline/romance and a 5 out of 5 for bedroom steaminess.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Napkins again (when will I stop), invitation set and a book review

I heard back from the masked invitation suit requestor and finished working up a mock up, without color for her. Her main colors are champion, black and fuchsia! What a wonderful color set. I’ve posted the ideas I had for her below. I’d love to have a bright splash of color at the corner of the masks that tapers to a light shade. I don’t know how well the letters would emboss but that would add a nice finish to the invites. I could see a fuchsia color board behind with embossed fleur de les to add even more dimension to the initiations. Since I had no idea the style or size she was looking for, I errored on the side of more conservative paper sizes.
My invites are 4.5 x 5.5 inches.

RSVP cards are 3 x 5 inches.

And the Thank You cards are 5.59 x 4.33 inches unfolded.

I can’t wait for the chance to try them out myself! She also wanted a map draw up of the wedding location and envelop with liners. I think a water fleur de les tucked inside on a champagne paper would make an excellent accent to the whole ensemble.

I’ll be visiting the universities craft store today to try and pick up a bucket of emulsion. And then swing down to the club later today to give a fencing lesson and hope to catch the UPS guy before he tries to deliver a package in which no one will be there to pick up. Bummer.

Well it’s a relatively short blog today as I’m planning a Wellness Fair at work and it seems to be taking up all my time both at work and my mind at home. Hopefully this Friday will be successful and not to total colossal failure (think happy thoughts!).

2nd book review of the week (thought I’d forget didn’t you)
Dark Stranger
(Vampire Book Series)
By Susan Sizemore

This was the first book in the start of a new series called ‘The Vampire Book Club’ that is based off of her Primal series as it uses the characteristics of Primal Vampires and the other species she’s introduced in her previous books and places them in different situations. In this book she places her characters in a science fiction setting way in the future where most of the human race has been annulated due to a space eruption that damaged several colonized planets in the solar system as well as earth. After partial repopulation, humans spread out into space and meet many new humanoids. Some of which they can coexist with and others that cause nothing but destruction.

The main female lead Zoe is captured on a peace talk mission and is thrown in the dungeon on a planet that is isolated from everything. The cell block she is thrown into is governed by a fellow inmate, the main male Matthias Raven or “Doc” where she struggles to keep her true identity from him and everyone else on the planet while he can’t seem to get enough of her. Their rocky relationship starts on its path when Zoe finds that she has a hard time staying away from him and the entire cell blocks mentality of polygamy (mostly because there are so few females). If put to the test as her chapters come looking for the captive that could win the war and the warring humanoids who what the humans death once and for all.

I have to say that I did enjoy reading this book. The science fiction was believable though not too heavily relied upon, most because they were in a prison camp. The strong female characters and the diverse supporting characters added richness to the story that was entertaining to read and helped the plot along. I had a little bit of a hard time towards the middle to last two-thirds of the story when the Zoe would decide that she didn’t want him but the conversation never changed in tone to indicate that she was even trying to fight off the desire for him. Around this time the author seemed to repeat the same emotional themes that where to closely related to make them separate items so it felt like they where one and the same.

After a few chapter of slight hiccupping in storyline, the plot gets on its way again and the action and romance continue to move ahead at an entertaining pace.

This book is based off of her original series and is supposed to be the books her character read in that series. At the end of the book, there is a chapter in which her original characters talk about the book and discuss who they think wrote it. While slightly entertaining, I feel that this could have been done without.

4 out of 5 stars for storyline/romance, 3 out of 5 stars for bedroom steaminess.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mystery Shopping, Napkins and a Book Review

So I joined one of the ‘mystery’ shopper websites, which stated that it was free to join. Well it was free to join but if I want to mystery shop then I need to become a paying member. And there is no guarantee that I’ll even get any of the mystery shopper jobs I apply for. Needless to say that it was a complete waist of time, thankfully not a lot of it, but it would have been interesting and maybe fun to get paid to shop.

So about those lovely little napkins that I spoke about in the last blog, it looks like I’m going to get the bid. Yeay! I’ll be doing a mockup of the napkins some time soon (as soon as the craft store gets the emulsion supplies I need) and I’m hoping that they turn out great on the first try (no I’m not delusional, just insane). I’ll also have 175 napkins to mess up on just trying to make the print look right, then when I order the ones she wants, another 200 for my other mistakes. I’ve also decided that the emulsion screens for those lovely little screen printing machines are a bit too much to only produce 4 screens, and by next week I’ll have a whole new exposure material to mess with. I’m extra excited to try the product and see how it goes, I just hope that I don’t have to mix the entire amount to do just one screen.

I saw a request for a Venetian mask themes wedding package and thought I’d try it out. I took a couple of masks and merged them into one using variations of the fleur de les as accents. I love how they turned out and can’t decide if it would look better with a light watercolor purple behind, with a silver mask, black accents and perhaps a dark purple ribbon or on a silver background with a light watercolor purple mask, black accents and a dark purple ribbon. I haven’t heard any response back from the original requestor on their wedding colors so I imagine when I do a test run, I can choose what ever colors I want.

I briefly (well more like 4 days) entertained the idea of entering a wedding design contest, where they were looking for original new designs that cost under $500 dollars to assemble. I was planning on running with the garden gnome theme with yellows, greens and reds. The table would be set with a few garden gnomes, herbs (as apparently they like to eat those) and wild flowers. I walked around the fabric store, circling the cloth section like a hungry hyena eyeing its first meal in weeks but never found anything that screamed this is the table cloth you want. Then I started worrying that the 4 place table I my residence wouldn’t be enough and it kind of went down hill from there.

For now I’ll just focus on getting the napkins done and printing on the three different types of tiles I purchased for coasters. I’ve never printed on pumas stone before so it should be loads of fun!

Aside from being on my own this weekend (Mike went on a camping trip), I read a couple of books (4). I won’t overload you with their reviews all in one blog post, so I’ve decided to split them up over the week. Lucky you!

I’ll start with the first one I completed.

Lion’s Heat
By Lora Leigh

I loved this book! And plan on re-reading it many many times! This is the long awaited story of Jonas Wyatt and his trials of finding his mate and the personal and emotional struggles they must go through to in order to discover if they have what it takes to give each other forever. While they're cautiously feel their way through their budding relationship, they are challenged by family that cannot be deigned and an Ex who wants to profit from his daughters birth.

This book is caulked full of action, adventure and passion that cannot be deigned. I love and own all of her books and full heartedly agree that this is an excellent addition to the Breed’s series. I give it a 5 out of 5 for storyline/romance and 5 out of 5 for bedroom steaminess!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Napkins, Mugs, Star Trek and Gnomes

Original thought for the title of this blog post "Enough with the planning already and get on with it!", but it doesn't quite go, I'll save it for later :)

So I’m hoping to get some Etsy love soon. I’m in talks with someone who would like napkins printed for her wedding, 400 of them! I’m hoping to get the bid so I can have some other products aside from hair pins listed in my shop. Don’t get me wrong, I love creating the hair products, it’s just that I’d like to expand and mostly practice making products that I’ll be doing seriously later. Not that if I win the bid I won’t complete the items in all seriousness. I’d just like to figure out how everything works when it’s not my project (going on the theory that I won’t be as stressed about it).

At first the statement was I would like a monogram printed on a napkin, and after learning the information, I sent the first set of ideas. (I threw in some simplistic ideas along with one that might be considered gaudy as I wasn’t sure what she was going for)

After indicating that they were a bit to much, even the simplistic ones, I sent the following:

Currently waiting to hear back from her. (I have my fingers crossed)

The last time I came up with an idea, it was the meshing of star trek insignias (non-geeks please avert your eyes) between Vulcan’s and Klingon’s. She liked the idea, but wanted to have their local glass artist make the piece. I was more then happy to part with the art as it was for a wedding topper and I didn’t think that I’d be able to accurately make the icon. I asked for a picture of the final object, but haven’t received one.

I think that I’m going to bid on another set of wedding invites, just need to sketch them first. It’s a Venetian mask theme so I’m thinking I’ll throw in some fleur-de-les and see how it goes. I can’t decide if I want to try putting a fence in the background but that might look funny, not that the loads of floating fleur-de-les wouldn’t. I’ll be sure to post it once I have my crazy idea down in some form or another.

I went to the craft store the other day and ended up picking up two pairs of buttons one in bronze and one is silver that look like old family shields, some feathers in the same warm brown family (different shades), brown and black ribbon and then a huge bushel of flowers in which I have to think of some way to attach the darn things to a head band or large hair clip. The only problem is the question that kept rattling around in my head, do adults still wear stretchy headbands and what color should it be? You see the flower is large, fuchsia with some rich orange colors. It’s a beautiful plant. I just don’t know what to do with it. As for the buttons, I can’t decide if I’m going to go for a head piece or a wrist wrap. I’ll have to go back to the store if that’s the case (which is certainly no problem for me).

I also tried grabbing a few bunches of flowers to see how it would look arranged in a bouquet and I have to say that for a quick ‘how do you do’ it could look pretty phenomenal (personally I’d like to use awesome- as in awe inspiring). If I got them now, at 40% off, I could cut the price in half, so instead of about $50 for flowers (one bridal and two maids), I could get it for about $30. To bad I don’t know what my dress will look like or the exact coolers, plus I think if I made it this early I might just end up throwing them away after getting sick of looking at them for over a year.

As an aside, how can some flavor dink packets taste so delicious while others taste like I’m drinking powder? I recreantly tried a strawberry energy dink flavor packet and it tastes horrible! Since I have a hard time wasting anything, I guess I’m going to have to force it down bit by bit. I’m also hoping that the energy statement printed on the side is true to fact. I could definitely use some.

I didn’t do any unpacking yesterday, but I did manage to get basic staples for the kitchen (yeay) and even pulled out the coffee maker for this morning. I have been dying these last couple of days without coffee, but now the magic elixir is free (relatively speaking) and flowing! Now, I’ll just need to stack up on traveling mugs. I currently only have one as I tend to leave them places.

On the plus side (aside from getting food), the store I went to has basic white plain mugs for 88 cents. With that much blank space, the possibilities are endless! I keep thinking that I’m going to try out some of my Alice prints but perhaps the cups should match my current light green table settings. Maybe I’ll add a bold leaf pattern or perhaps something quarky like a silhouette of a gnome playing in a field of grass. That would be interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wedding thoughts, crafting ideas and Etsy

Ah, I have so many wedding questions floating around my head. Should I keep my invite ideas of a Madd Hatter top hat? Do I want to make my own veil (yes!) and what kind do I want? Where the heck is the wedding going to take place and can I even afford the darn thing!

I don’t know if I’ve put myself off of the Madd Hatter invite solely based on everyone else’s reactions. I’ve gotten mixed reviews, with high points from Mike, and perhaps its just that its so early in the planning of it all (I’ve had a year already to think of ideas and plan) that maybe I’ve burned myself out of weddings for a while. Lately I’ve become obsessed with wedding blogs, searching for elusive ideas to create a ‘story board’ as the wedding industries call them in order to set everything for the wedding before actually acquiring them.

I have loads of pictures from flowers to table arrangements, foods that will be served and what the glasses could look like. I’ve even gone back and fourth between pondering supplies for the apartment I just moved into to deciding if I could afford a hundred of those glasses and what exactly I could do to them.

May marks the one year proposal anniversary and the year count down to the main event. Needless to say I’m feeling the pressure and yet at the same time, the burning desire to just ignore it until the date gets here.

I’ve also had another guilty wedding buy hiding in the trunk of my car for the last week. I recently purchased a heat gun, brush and embossing powder. I got the heat gun 40% off and the remaining two items 20% off. The one thing I will say that really helps with wedding planning this far out from the actual wedding date, is you can calmly wait for the sales that come your way to help cut down on the price cost of the mundane quantity (yes quantity) items that will be needed for a wedding.

The other plus is that you have time to shop around and find what you want and hopefully in the price you’d like it as well. Personally I need to find little boxes or containers for the ‘eat me’ portion of the wedding favors and little glass bottles for the ‘drink me’ portion, although I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m going to put in them.

Lately I’ve been trying to expand my Etsy shop with requests to complete other peoples personal alchemy requests (items they want but can’t find anywhere else). So far I believe I’ve bid probably on 10 items, and not received one confirmation. Since I’ve never really done any of the items requested (but am planning to for my own wedding), It both scares and excites me at the same time. Currently I’ve bid on printing a monogram on a paper napkin but since the requester didn’t put letters or colors desired, I’m currently waiting for a response.

How does this relate to my own wedding? Well I’m planning on printing a few characters, one on each napkin for the wedding reception, if they aren’t provided, so that it matches the theme and isn’t exactly the same for every person. This is just one of the ideas that may or may not pan out of the wedding.

Another alchemy request I bid on was to create a dive shirt with an octopus on it with ‘DIVE’ written on one sleeve and the other would be embellished with the Dive Flag.

Unfortunately I didn’t win this bid. It would have been fun making the shirt and seeing if I’d stay within the budget. I might just make the shirt anyways and see how it turns out (this would be helpful for any other shirt items that I bid on).

I missed out on using the Borders 30% off coupon last week and didn’t pick up the new book by Lora Leigh, mostly because I wouldn’t have had time to read it and I knew I would have missed sleep to finish it. I’m waiting for more Joann and Michael’s coupons because I’m itching to buy new items to make.

On an aside, I’ve changed almost all my addresses to get forwarded to home. Now to get the cable and internet turned on.

Wedding purchase:
Heating tool
Embossing Powder
Total: ~$18.00

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moving and a Party!

Well, I did it. I (mostly) survived this weekend and everything that was packed into it. Friday was crazy, mostly because of the mad dash of packing that I tried to complete for the move on Saturday.

Last weeks agenda; Friday-continue packing, Saturday-parade 8:30-1, move 2-5:30pm, 25th anniversary party 6-7:30, Sunday- move, board meeting (didn’t make it).

Saturday started out with a fun little jaunt to the fencing club where I organized the waiting group of fencers and figured out where we needed to be for the Daffodil Festival Parade I had signed the club up for. When we made our way down to where we are supposed to meet up with the parade coordinators, there were none in site to help direct us where we need to go. We wonder around a bit, mostly because I had no idea where we where going, until I spied someone with a clip board and they finally direct us to our starting location.

We sat there in a vacant parking lot waiting around for a bit after being assured that we’d be told when to start marching. The numbers of the units around us are at about 50. Our unit was number 116. It took about and hour in a half, waiting in the cold wind for the units numbers of the parade to reach 100. At about this time, I start looking for the Daffodil Parade coordinators who I had been assured would be there to start us out and low and behold, none of them were around. I saw a unit tagged 112 and then a huge marching band rolled by and the unit after them was 119. We squeezed in behind them and started the long 10 blocks of group fencing. I wasn’t aware how long we marched until we had to walk back to where the cars where parked. My legs are still extremely soar and don’t liked to be used for mundane things like walking or climbing stairs.

Afterwards I went straight home to pick up Mike and headed over to the apartment complex so we could do a walk through and sign the lease on the apartment. The walk through wasn’t so bad, it was the continuous forms that we had to sign that seemed to take forever. After all the forms were signed, we where handed the keys and immediately started the long process of changing residences.

At around 5:30 pm we headed over to the grocery store to pick up the remainder of the food for my patents 25th anniversary party that was also taking place on Saturday. I though the party started at 7 but it started at 6 (I should have known this as I was the one who send out the invites). We where a little late and once I had the chicken salad out I started mingled with the rest of the group. Although I helped plan the event, with everything else that was going on, I wasn’t the one who really helped put everything together. My two sisters did a phenomenal job getting everything cooked and placed out on the table. I'll have to post the punch recipe as it was delicious and I'm pretty sure that I'll be serving it at my wedding.

After the party, Mike and I went back to the apartment, assembled the bed and spent the first night in the apartment. I was a bit cold, but amazing. The natural light in the apartment is great and we probably won’t end up using much electricity just because of that. We meet up with my parents for a brunch on Sunday. We ended up waiting an hour to be seated off of a 25 minute wait quote. Once we consumed the overly proportioned meals we continuing the moving process. We currently have almost everything moved in and after looking at the huge pile of junk sitting in the middle of our living room, it amazes me that I had almost everything stuffed into my room.

All that’s left to move is most of my crafting supplies and some miscellaneous items that didn’t get packed. Then it’s cleaning time at both places before I can get down to the serious unpacking.

Last night has to be one of the worst nights of sleep I’ve ever gotten. Misha, my cat, needed attention last night, probably because she knew how tired I was, and about once an hour would wake me up with sharp claws to the face or shoulders asking for attention. I didn’t want to throw her out of the room on her first night at the apartment, but if it continues again, I’m kicking her out of the room.

On today’s agenda; work, gym, clean old room and bathroom, move more stuff to the apartment, organize and clean new apartment, start unpacking.

Lets see how much of the above actually get completed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vows, Photography and a Sense of Desperation

I was cruising through the wedding blogs that are constant inspirations to me and came across this:

I (name here), take you (name here), to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love you without reservation and to demonstrate that love in action, as well as word. To turn to you and not on you in times of trial; and to practice honest and thoughtful communication, especially when its most difficult to do so. To challenge and inspire you to be all that I believe you can, and to welcome the same from you with an open heart. To make passion a priority, and faithfully work to entice and attract you through the years. I vow to trust in your love and put apology and forgiveness above ego. To take ownership of my health and to care for yours; to celebrate your joys and share your sorrows as long as we both shall live. From my hand to your heart, I thee wed.
Slightly modified version from

I love how the phrasing doesn’t demean, make submissive or place on a pedestal, one person or the other. The overall feel I get from it is that I can and will do everything within my power to take care of myself, be supportive of you and if you require assistance at any time I will be there with a helping hand.

After going through and organizing the down stair storage area, I finally have everything of mine out in the open and about to see the light of day (mostly because I need to go through it again). I spent two hours in a 9 x 12 room filled to the brim with boxes and no where to put them so I could sort it. I ended up doing one side of the room and using the other as a stacking ground before repeating on the other side. I have to say that about 1/3 of the boxes in the back where mine, so there’s a lot more space back there then there used to be.

I read an interesting article on self catering for weddings and I have to say that it put some ideas in my head about doing either all or some of the work. The thing is, I’d probably need to hire helpers to keep food flowing and heating before placing anyways so it might just come down to making appetizers and desserts while the main courses are catered. This will most likely depend on catering staff hired for the day and what they will and won’t allow.

I also posted my first armature wedding photography ad on craigslist and when I was speaking to Mike about how I didn’t think anyone was going to contact me, seeing as I was priced the same as the other photographers, he recommended that I cut the price in half. At first I was bit put out, after all taking pictures for a wedding for any length of time can be exhausting, then he said, ‘it’s still about $30 an hour’ and I realized that yeah I probably wasn’t going to get an hits with a 4 hour session costing $300 but if I did a $150 session, especially since I don’t have much wedding photography under my belt, I’d probably get a lot more interest. He’s right. How can I expect with everyone else out there that people will want to pick me when I don’t have the same spread as some of the other photographers nor am I offering a full DVD of the pictures I’ve taken. I don’t have all the equipment I need nor the background to make most people comfortable with paying any sort of money for pictures. Admittedly I was planning on purchasing the equipment as I go, but in order to do that I really need to have customers to reach that point. Do I feel like I would be selling myself short? No, just being more realistic with the price of the merchandize (my self) at its current state.

After the move this weekend, money won’t be tight, but saving will be a problem, especially for a wedding. We have a little over 12 months to save at least $5000 and with most of our cash flow going towards bills and living expenses, it’s not going to leave enough at the end of the month to save up. Aside from photography (I plan on trying to do any and all events) I’m also planning on re-upping my Mary Kay consultant ID and continuing to actively post new items on my Etsy account. My goal in the end is to not have to take a loan out to help pay for the wedding. Here’s to hoping.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Apartments, Sakura Con and lots of Potato Salad

Well my weekend was packed full of fun. Friday, Mike and I went apartment shopping and finally found an apartment, yeay. It’s a loft and it looks like it’s going to be fun decorating and organizing the place. Utilities aren’t included, but we got a month free so it’ll hopefully equal out in the end. We sign the lease on the 10th and we’re probably about half way through packing.

Packing, now there’s an interesting subject. I’ve never had anyone ‘help’ me pack before. Usually it’s me, boxes, perhaps a cat and a full day or two to get everything together. Mike got the closet cleared out in about half the time it would have taken me and after a bit, I just had to let him go and not worry about organizing anything, just getting ride of the trash.

My sister also had birthday party and my mother had the coolest cake made for her. It was an orange Shubert cake and it tasted exactly like its name. It was delicious.

Saturday started off with my normal fencing lesson before turning into mass frenzy of packing, navigating and then setting up for the fencing demo held at this years Sakura Con at the Seattle Convention Center. It seems no matter how many times I drive around lost in Seattle, I just can’t seem to remember where things are. I ended up doubling back a couple of times trying to find the convention center before finally stumbling upon it. We didn’t have too much trouble making our way towards the office to get out passes and then it was up to the demo room to take a look at the space we where given. I should say first off, that last year at the same time, the convention had at least twice as many people roaming the halls and escalators. This year it looked like a sad reflection of its former self. I don’t know if it was from the lack of speakers or perhaps funding, but I was deathly afraid that we’d have even less attendees and spectators then last year.

Happily, that wasn’t the case. I’d say that we probably had triple the attendance then last year, and we managed to keep it for the entire show, thanks to the help of other volunteers from MTFC. At one point one of the volunteers offered to give me the microphone, probably afraid that I was angry that I didn’t get the chance to speak or fence at the event. I told him he was doing a great job and to carry on while I continued to make the rounds around the room and answer any questions the spectators might have. The hour flew by fast and the group was entertained and involved in the show. I think it was one of the best demonstrations MTFC has held.

Afterwards we checked out the paraphernalia that was for sale at the convention. There were a lot of articles that I wish I’d never seen but there where some really interesting stalls there. One in particular had a metal sculpture with glass used to create a flying dragon form. Another had skirts that I wasn’t willing to fork over the amount they were asking for, but it did give me some ideas for making my own skirt.

We navigated the many floors that were involved in the convention and headed down to Mike’s favorite restaurant, The Tap House, where sushi, popcorn shrimp, lava cake (the best I’ve ever had) and of course beer was consumed. I listened to some interesting stores and met a group from Portland that was up in the Seattle area for Sakura Con. Afterwards, it was a pain trying to get into the parking garage that I parked in, as the only pedestrian entrance available seemed to be two elevators with a line stretching down and around the block.

After many failed attempts at locating the outdoor entrance for the stair well, we only managed to get into it because someone leaving held the door open, our group ended up being a floor too high from where we parked. While half the group (me included) ended up just walking down the ramps, the other half (including Mike) squeezed between a bunch of thick metal cables and the cement floor. We’re talking probably about the width of my hand. Aside from being extremely tall, they’re also are whipcord thin. They might have bet us to the car, but I had the keys.

Sunday was Easter and it was relatively relaxing. My grandmother had the fun experience of trying to cook a ham that had already been pre-cooked. The meat was a little crispy, but after trimming off the burned ends, it still tasted good enough to eat. Next came the six (yes I did mean 6) pounds of potato salad she bought, to make sure everyone got some. Keep in mind that usually our family gatherings aren’t more the 6 to 8 people. Next year, we’re talking about shaping the potato salad into a shape of a ham and featuring it with ham as the accent meat surrounding it.

I also managed finished re-reading one of my more favorite books, and here is the review.

Book Review:

Archangel’s Kiss, by Nalini Singh

This is the second book in the series of Guild Hunter Novels and it was as ensnaring as the first. The passionate relationship between the main character Elena and the Archangel Raphael, smoldered the pages with an intensity the rivaled the paranormal suspense that I could barely put the book down until I had finished reading the last page. Her descriptions of Angels and their relationships with Vampires and humans is realistic and draws you into the secondary characters and the depths that they hold under their surfaces. It makes me wonder, and hope, that once she’s done with this particular guild hunter that she’ll match up the remaining Vampires and Angels that work for and are tied to Raphael.

This chapter of her series has the reader entering the scene as human guild hunter Elena has woken up to find that she has been asleep for a year and has been transformed into an angel by none other then her Archangel lover Raphael. As their relationship unfolds, it’s strained by Raphael’s need to come to terms with their new relationship and the sometimes hate filled experiences with his sentries. Mixed in with Elena coming to terms with her new body and relationship is the murder of other vampires and angels, stolen children and the desire one of the Archangels has for her immediate death.

I really enjoyed reading this book the first time around and it only gets better with every read. I’d recommend this book to anyone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Wedding Binder of Death and a Book Review

Well I finally started my dreaded wedding binder of death. It’s black, undecorated and unassuming in its look. I think that I might put a skull on it. It’s all organized with little tabs, post-it notes and my soon to be misspelled scribbles. It’s only in a 1” binder, but for some reason I think that it might get bigger. For those of you interested I so far have sorted out my wedding as follows: Attire, Ceremony, Tables (including settings), All Flowers, Cake/Desserts, Guest Gifts, Other Wedding Ideas/Crafts, Invites/RSVP’s/Thank You’s. This is no way denotes the order of importance (just a bit) of items for the wedding.

I’ve also been working my invite/notification list and so far I have 59 people I’ll be sending information to. Doesn’t seem like a big number but then you count partners, kids and other random guests and I’m almost afraid of the amount of attending RSVP’s we’ll receive. The list is mostly my family, co-works and friends. I have a few of Mike’s family and friends down, but not all. Feeling a bit light headed about trying to meet the $5,000 budget with the amount of people who might come. I’ll just have to wait till I actually send out the invites before I start freaking out, which won’t be for another 6 to 8 months.

I read somewhere recently that they suggested waiting till the wedding was 4 weeks away for in state and 6 weeks away for out of staters before mailing the invites. Personally that’s a little to close to the wedding date for my comfort. I’ll probably be sending my invites 3 to 4 months out so they’ll have plenty of time to RSVP by when the catering company needs the information and so that the out of state attendees can hopefully get cheaper tickets because they’ll be purchasing them sooner or just have extended time to save up for them.

I've been thinking about adding a contdown to how many days I have left till the wedding, might be a bit daunting now as its over 365 days away and really might freak me out the close it gets, but in the end I think its a good thing. Now, I just need to count them out.

On a writing note, I keep forgetting to bring my memory stick to work, as I tend to do most of my writing during breaks in the work flow. Will hopefully remember tomorrow (I’m such a slacker).

Book Review: (my first!)

Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair,

When I picked up this book I was looking for sci fye romance space adventure packed with intrigue, excitement and deep emotional characters. I have to say Linnea Sinclair delivered! I was a bit confused in the beginning as I wasn’t quiet sure which book this one followed and for some strange reason I kept thinking Devin Guthrie was his brother Phillip, but after deciding they were two different people, I was able to just relax and enjoy the book and believe me when I say that the storyline just kept getting better.

Her realistic explanations of spaceships, the ports they doc in and the complex life aboard large space stations and small ships is one that never stops to boggle my mind. Her descriptions of space flight, space vehicles entering and leaving jump gates and planetary atmospheres makes me wonder if she’s ever taken fixed wing flying lessons, as some of those feelings you just don’t get flying on commercial airlines.

Due to the active, complex mind of the author who was once a news reporter and a private investigator, the plot is hardly predictable and always had me revising who I thought the villain might be. I would highly recommend reading any and all of her novels, they’re a joy and I can’t wait to see what she writes next!