Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm So Crafty

Well, I like to think of myself as a fairly crafty person, but here’s my little secret- I’m not very creative. I’m great at seeing something, figuring out how it was made, and duplicating it, but original ideas…? I don’t really have ‘em.

When I was on maternity leave I went shopping – a lot. Busy is a great little shopper, and some days she would only take substantial naps in her car seat, so off to window shop we’d go (okay usually it wasn’t window shopping, but that is beside the point). One day we were in a local children’s store, and I saw something called a “Taggie.”

At first I thought, that’s stupid, it’s a piece of fabric with some ribbon sewn on the edges. Busy, however, seemed mesmerized. She loved the feel of it, and had I let her, those ribbon “tags” would have been in her mouth faster than you could imagine. Thinking it would be a good toy for her to chew on while in her car seat, I was going to purchase it.

Until I looked at the price tag.

$14.99 for a tiny little piece of fabric and some ribbon! I couldn’t bring myself to pay that amount, but oh, how Busy loved it! The solution – I made my own.

It was so easy. I had some extra fabric at home, along with a selection of ribbon thanks to my newfound hobby of making pacifier clips. A few snips, a few pins, a little sewing, and ta-da! My very own, very inexpensive, “Taggie.”

What do you think?

In reality all the ribbons are the same length, so I'm not sure what visual trick I used to make the red ribbon appear to be so much longer than the rest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Work in Progress

So the new look of the blog is under way, but it's not quite finished yet.  I've added some "Pages" near the top of the blog, but haven't had a chance to add any content.  Stick around and hopefully you'll like the finished product!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

Goodbye, Starbucks.

Goodbye for real this time. I’ll miss you, oh yes I will, but our relationship has become unhealthy, and for this reason I must say goodbye.

Goood-byyyyeee (I can hear Julie Andrews’s voice in the background, singing “Goodbye” with Christopher Plummer as they walked off the stage to escape the Nazi’s)…

Anywho, back to reality. Let me explain my history with Starbucks to you. It all started in September 1998 when I got a job at Plantation Coffee, the local independent coffee shop. I didn’t even drink coffee at that time, but I was desperate to leave Linens ‘n Things, where’d I’d been working for all of one month (it was hell). My SIL P-Dawg worked at Plantation and said it was a pretty good job. I got hired, and there my story begins.

As I mentioned, I didn’t even drink coffee. I kept trying the flavored black coffees, because I wanted to like coffee, and they smelled so good. It was amazing to me how something that smelled so wonderful could taste so awful. Because we were allowed to drink whatever we wanted for free while we were working, I began experimenting with espresso drinks.

And it was then that the iced mocha entered my life.

It was glorious! Cool and refreshing, slightly sweet but not overly so, slightly bitter from the espresso. I’d never experienced anything like it. Soon, I was drinking three to four mochas a day (hey, they were free) – one when I got to work, two more while I was there, and one that I’d drink on my way home. I was a senior in high school and was incredibly busy, so I imagine the caffeine was pretty helpful, although I think I drank so much soda, too, that caffeine didn’t affect me too much. After all, the mocha I’d drink at the end of my shift lasted me until I got home, and I’d drink it as I got into bed at night and fall right to sleep.

Fast forward to college, where there was a coffee shop on the way from my morning classes back to my dorm where I began to stop every day. I had this glorious thing called a “food card;” basically I paid tuition, housing, and food at the beginning of every quarter. Paying for food ahead of time guaranteed me three squares a day at the school cafeteria, but it also gave me a few hundred dollars per quarter to spend like cash at the other eateries on campus. Needless to say, I ate most of my meals in the cafeteria because I quickly spent all my extra cash at the campus coffee shop.

When I left school and came back home, I began working for the state. Just one block from my building was a La Bou. My coworkers would go every day to get coffee, so I’d go with them and get an iced mocha. When I began doing the Atkins diet after about three years of working for the state, I started going to La Bou each day (I’d gone a few days a week before but not always every day) and getting black coffee, then flavoring it with non-dairy creamer. It took awhile, but I began to like the taste of black coffee (heavily sweetened with flavored creamer, I should add). After awhile, I began stopping on my way to work at Starbucks; up until this point, I’d never really gone to Starbucks. I loved Plantation Coffee’s mochas, and I liked La Bou’s flavored coffees, but I’d never really ventured into a Starbucks. However, I was now heading to work from my then-boyfriend-now-husband’s house (yes, I stayed at his house before we were married, I’m sorry), and there was only a Starbucks on the way (and I was going to a different job, so the La Bou was not nearby). I’d get a venti black coffee with room and add smooth, creamy, wonderful half-and-half.

It was then that I got hooked on Starbucks. Damnit.

Our relationship evolved from black coffee every day to black coffee and a pastry every day (this was clearly after I had given up on Atkins). Soon I wasn’t going to Starbucks in the morning (I had moved downtown by then and had a five minute commute to work), but I was going every single day of the week with my coworkers on our morning break. By this time the husband (still boyfriend back then) and I had shacked up together downtown and we’d leisurely stroll to our neighborhood Starbucks at least one day on the weekend. I should note that at this point in time, I was getting various drinks from Starbucks but they were all either black coffee or non-fat mochas.

Fast forward to my time working for a different agency. Each morning, I again went to Starbucks with some coworkers. The difference is that each afternoon, I again went to Starbucks with some coworkers. The folks at Starbucks knew us so well that the week before my wedding I was chosen as “Customer of the Week,” and the baristas gave me a card that they all signed. At this time, Starbucks went to 2% milk instead of whole, and I discovered how amazing an iced mocha is with 2% milk instead of non-fat.

Fast forward once more to the present, and my drink is an iced-venti-decaf-two-pump-no-whip-mocha. The people at Starbucks know me. Sadly, they actually know me at multiple Starbucks. When I was on leave for the month before Elizabeth was born, I started each and every single day by going to Starbucks and getting my iced mocha (decaf, of course) and a classic coffee cake.

Every. Single. Day.

After she was born, I was on leave for four months, and while people brought me coffee at first, I soon became stir crazy and needed to get out of the house. I didn’t want to take Elizabeth anywhere where there were people and germs, so our activity became going to the drive-through Starbucks. Again, I went every day.

As bad as that was, the problem began when I started going twice a day. Not every day, but often enough that a significant portion of my disposable cash went to Starbucks. Then, I told myself I was going to stop. I told myself, “Self, this is the last day that we’re going to Starbucks.” So, naturally, I went to Starbucks three times that day, because it was the last day. I actually did start making coffee and espresso drinks at home for a period of time, but that didn’t last long, because Christmas rolled around and I got Starbucks cards as gifts. I resumed my daily routine of both starting, and ending, my day at Starbucks.

It has got to stop!

And so, it will stop. Yes, awhile ago I posted on Facebook that Starbucks and I were going our separate ways, and while we did for awhile, as mentioned I was drawn back into the addictive web that is Starbucks. This must be what smokers experience when they try to quit. It’s hard!

And what has changed this time, you might be asking. Well, first I’ve made a commitment to my health. Second, the husband and I have been talking and it is our ultimate goal that I work part time. To make that happen, we must pay off a few bills (evil credit cards) and replenish our savings (maternity leave doesn’t pay that well, folks), and that means no mindless shopping and NO MORE STARBUCKS. Because this time, I’m not doing it just for me, I’m doing it for Busy, too.

And so we must say goodbye, Starbucks old pal. You’ve been a good friend, a comfort when times were tough, but I don’t need you anymore…and I certainly don’t want to pay for you anymore!