Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm feeling all grown up !

This is just a quick check-in because I am so excited about the beginning of this new chapter of my life.

Today I started my internship at the Veteran Affair's Hospital in CT. This place is amazing. I was apprehensive at first because I heard it wasn't that much "one-on-one" therapy which is what I'm doing { for the most part } in class. But then I got to see what these people do. I'm working with a Critical Time Intervention program which basically means we work with homeless vets and work with them therapeutically - the end goal being permanent housing. Instead of sitting in an office all day I get to be out in the community, helping people with almost any and everything you can imagine. I'm a little nervous because I'll be going into people's homes - whether their homes are actual houses, transitional living facilities, the hospital, or even the streets/woods. Because yes, even when people are living in the woods, that is their home and it needs to be treated with respect. And thankfully I had a great experience shadowing Brass City Harvest and learning this important lesson.

I committed myself to a totally new mindset than I had last year. Last year I was so hell bent on not having the experience I expected/wanted that I'm sure I missed out on great learning opportunities. But this year - the times they are a changin'. I need to be extremely open minded, get my creative juices flowing, and just take every opportunity I get. This is like the legit start of my career. Many people's first jobs are a result of their internship. So I gotta get ready to network network network.

P.S. I'm writing this from my new MacBook ! Yes that's right -- no more slow and broken VAIO PC. WOohoo I have been waiting for this day for oh so long.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pondering a Handmade Bizz..

I want to start a handmade business. I want to start with a "whatever happens, happens" mindset. I want to post a few things on Etsy and see what happens. Any ideas?
Here's some stuff I've put together.

There's this scarf too. And I have oodles of other scarf ideas. I've realized that I don't want to do this for money or anything. I want to start this endeavor because I want something a "hobby" that I enjoy losing myself in and something that creates meaning in my life. Well, maybe meaning isn't the word I'm looking for. For those that create you know that feeling when you're looking/holding/listening/smelling your item? It's like this little bubble of warmth inside. And I don't think it matters if other people " like " or want to have what you made. It's the fact that you created it and that feeling alone is pretty great. So I'd like some more of that :D

It would be great to talk to someone who started with just a little tiny idea of sharing what they've made and love with the world. Which reminds me -- I need to work on my commenting.

I'm off to start my first real day off. If you don't count cooking, list-making, cleaning, READING, and major organizing as work. It never ends does it? But being busy makes me thrive. When I have too much time on my hands I turn into a lazy slobmonster. Anyone ever feel like this? I was over on Gussy Sews and I read this great tip that I felt really hit home with me as this school year gets off and running

don't be afraid to get burnt out

Seriously. I'm having anxiety about future anxiety when I might fall behind in work. BUT IT HASN'T HAPPENED. So why am I freaking. Whatever will be, will be... right? So new goal = be busy, have fun, read so much that it stops making sense, and enjoy autumn. Because pumpkin coffee makes this girl happy.

And maybe make an online homemade bizz

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shopping Inspiration

Here we are at another week of Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop. Has it been a week? Whew time flies when you having a stressful, tiring, commuting good time.Positive thoughts always people :D

This week -- Shops you love. Well well well. How fitting as Emily and I seem to have a major problem wanting to buy everything we shouldn't and can't. First are my top picks. I have to say that I have been an Urban Outfitters girl all my life. Although Anthropologie { I think } does have nicer stuff I'm just too poor at this time of my life to buy much there. So Urban has served me well these past years as a starving student.

Urban Outfitters

Come on folks -- Chevron Chair & they have a matching rug - in TEAL.
Some of my other favorite stores include Michaels Crafts - because I can't get enough of my 20% off purchase coupons, Uptown Consignment - because there are Marc Jacobs bags for $120 and Fendi clutches for $50. I love thrifting! Lastly, J Crew because I have a passionate love for cardigans and tee-shirt embellishments.

sourcevia pinterest

Clearly a toy store is Emily's favorite choice. Who woulda thought? Our fav is a long-standing toy store in West Hartford Center -- The Toy Chest. I love this store because it contains products that encourages learning and creativity. Think hand-sewn puppets and wooden kitchen food. Emily loves it because it's one of those stores that has a plentiful assortment of "floor models" that keep her occupied for hours. We picked up our first Tatutina letters here.

Check out their stuff - it rocks.

What's your fav picks?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fallin' for Scarves

I've been a bad blogger.

But after my adjustment back to the school grind I'll get better. I promise.

So to make up for my slack, I thought I'd show you something I really enjoyed. I never saw this before although I'm sure many of you have. I think it totally rocks.

INSERT PIC - yes to remind myself to post pic from camera
{ UGH can't find camera. Fail marianne. This was such a great project. As soon as I find I will post }

My wonderful friend Tiffany { you know, the one that lets me crash every week at her apt because shes so awesome } pulled this awesome scarf hanger out of her closet one day. Because of course her closet is like the GREATEST and she has a 1,000 scarves. I was totally taken aback at how cool and creative this was. Not to mention functional and something I would love having. I found a couple tutorials if anyone is interested.

here's one...
and another
and a final one just in case

and here's Emily, modeling a scarf that I would gladly hang from a super cool handmade hanger.
We got the inspiration for this scarf here. { Note that Em is only 42 inches tall and the scarf hangs much differently on a grown up }. Yes, this is my first "clothing" DIY that I am super proud of.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Late Night Inspiration

So last night I tossed and turned myself through what felt like HOURS of nightmares. The best part... they were of the "waitressing" type. If you have ever waited tables I am without a doubt sure you have experienced this. I have been waitressing since I was 18; it was definately the best way to make mucho money quick and worked with my school schedule. But I hate it. I've loved the places I worked, but the whole concept of being a waitress is totally nightmare-worthy. Thankfully, { hopefully } my waitressing days are a looong gone.

In this nightmare I was running in circles, never catching up with getting what people wanted. You know those dreams when you are supposedly somewhere but it's not really what it is in real life? Yeah, makes sense right? Anyways, I was working at my friends' place City Hall

cute right?

Well.. needless to say this is NOT what it looked like in my nightmare. I was in a dungeon-esque, antler-serving (yes, charred antlers were on the menu) hole in the wall. Much more Snuggly Duckling. And I was running in circles, never catching up, and everyone was yelling at me.

My point in all this. I thought I'd give you some tips. A little advice on what I've learned throughout the years on what to do and NOT to do in the restaurant scene. I've learned that there's many things that get done to us poor servers that is not intentional rather a misunderstanding due to lack of previous learning. So please readers, my few and far between, take heed on the people delivering your latest craving so no one has to suffer what I went through last night.

** Warning.. Do not take offense as I may come off a bit strong :D

1. 20%. Yes 20% at least in the Northeast, is the baseline for tipping. If she/he were awesome please feel free to go higher. My paycheck averaged $1.50 after taxes and I totally appreciated the few extra bucks from the tables I clicked with.

2. If a special menu ( often a prix fixe menu ) says "No Substitutions" - it really means no subs. Our kitchen would spout 150 Ladies Night dinners in 2 hours. If my table's ticket had changes on it it would either (1) get pushed to the end of the line meaning you were waiting an hour for food (2) they just wouldn't do it. ((Allergies excluded)). And the "But they do it everytime" does not work.

3. "I know the owner" well darling so do I and I know he would not let you change your free well-martini for a 10$ Grey Goose martini. I'm sorry.

4. Be understanding. You know how you forgot to write back to that email that's been sitting in your inbox? Well sometimes we forget to add/sub/order something. In which case, PLEASE bring it up. Nicely. And we will totally do everything possible to get it to you right as fast as possible.

5. Chef's can be mean. Very mean. Mean as in the "I had the other waitress serve your food bc I was in the bathroom crying."

6. Please don't swear or talk inappropriately to me. As friendly and welcoming as I am, it really offends me when people start dropping curse words or talking about their opinions on the "hot girl" they saw earlier. Ugh.

7. Many people assume that waiting on tables is all I do and all I'm going to ever do. People look down on us and I've even overheard people saying "She's just a food server." Well I'm not. I'm finishing a master's from an Ivy League school. I have a loving amazing family. And I'm so much more than that. Which leads to #8.

8. Some tables don't like to chit chat and I totally respect that bc when I'm out, I seldom start more than small talk with the server. But if you are going to strike up a conversation it's totally awesome if you genuinely ask what else he/she does, enjoys, etc. Likewise, don't ever say "well this is all you do?" or even worse "But you are so much better than this & you don't want to get stuck here." Because yes for some people, waiting tables is their main job right now. And why do you care? It can be great - it got my family through some tough financial times and I made more money than many people I know with degrees! Plus it allowed me the time to really figure out what I wanted in life.

9. We have power over your food. Enough said.

10. I love being a "good customer" just as much as I love getting a "good table".

11. Please don't make crude statements about the legality/ethnicity of the kitchen staff. Many of the undocumented workers in kitchens have given up their families and homes and instead spend 60 or so laborous hours a week doing the jobs that many Americans turn down. I wish I could write a book on the bravery and selflessness of these men and women. Their stories bring me to tears and one day I'll share.

I realize many of my statements had a total brashness about them. I apologize. After like what.. EIGHT years of being a waitress so much has built up in me. I've noticed a total lack in how many people treat their servers. But I've also met some amazing people and truly loving, generous people. When I was pregnant I had customers hand-knit me blankets and give me gifts for the baby. How awesome is that? I've made bonding relationships with people and I'm grateful. Being in any type of service job is NOT an easy feat. We should all find ways to make little improvements and changes in how we talk to the people that make our coffee or open our dressing rooms. Even just a "good morning" with a smile as you're rolling through the drive through.

Thanks for listening to my babble. Whew felt good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 2 Inspiration Workshop

This is my second week of Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop.

This week's prompt = Books

Those that inspire you, excite you, make you miss your train stop because your face is buried so deeply in the pages. Maybe even those that inspire you NOT to read something because the book is so awful.
{ aw come on, that doesn't really happen? }
Here are some of my favs, but reader beware: this list changes frequently.

I also loved checking out some neat reading nooks - I swear when we have a bigger home Emily and I will have a quiet corner devoted only to snuggling up and reading.

bright bazaar via pinterest

And who can forget the little ones... I must say Pinkalicious, classic Dr. Seuss, and Ramona & Beezus are topping my list.

the beauty file via pinterest

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

B-b-back to School

I've been absent, yes I know. I'm still getting used to this whole blog thing and I kept procrastinating. I've been dying to write to y'all (yes, had to use y'all thanks to my southern friend.) I have so much to say about all the fun I've had these past few days.

So... September means pumpkin lattes, giant mums on my porch, and my favorite thing - the start of school in the city!

I know.. right? Who LOVES going back to school? I need to chill with the weird nerd thing at times, but when I step foot off that bus (after my pleasant ::sigh:: 3 hour commute) I realize that I LOVE my school. I started my MSW Graduate program at Columbia's School of Social Work and it's been a wild ride. Literally. I live in central-CT and travel by car, train, and bus to school 2x/wk. BUT it's okay. I ENJOY it -- I love having an excuse to be in NYC part of the week. There is something about the city that both relaxes and excites me.. Anyone know what I mean? It's so hard to put into words, but it is certainly magical. My fav things about the city.. hmm... definately the culture and diversity. Right outside my building I can eat Ethipoian, Japanese, Italian, Indian, African, or Chinese. I can drink bubble tea or iced Nutella (yes, iced Nutella). In CT you either get Italian or fast-food Chinese. Oh joy. ::note sarcasm::
I also have a fancy for the vendors that sell fresh produce and flowers. If I want a snack I can have an apple. Yes one apple. I don't have to walk into a grocery store and buy a bag of them. Oh the simple things that so many take for granted. Clearly I must be hungry as I keep jabbering about food. Back to business.
So here I am back on campus and staying with an amazingly hospitable friend who is letting me shack up with her instead of traveling back and forth. Thanks mucho Tiff. You rock my socks.

Let's laugh about my books. Seriously. What else can you do but laugh when something is so miserably awful. They totaled $1300. I'm a grad student. By nature I'm supposed to be poor! No, I did not buy them all because I think that is ridiculous. But I did wait in line for an hour to buy the 3 cheapest ones while I hunt down the others online. Why did I think it was a good idea to go to the bookstore during lunch, during the first week of class.
Where was I the past 5 years of college?

Then a nice stroll on campus. If anyone has ever been on the Columbia campus you know what I'm talking about. It's a little slice of Utopia in Manhatten. I love daydreaming while I walk around. And today I was thinking.. all these youngsters (yes I am one of the old ones..) they have SO much potential. There might be the next President, Nobel Laureate, or scientist who discovers the cure for cancer or HIV. These kiddos inspire me. My classmates at CUSSW are the smartest, kindest, most creative and inventive people I've ever met. I feel priveledged and blessed that I get the opportunity to study with these people and my professors. Why I was granted this gift I'll never know,
but I know I won't waste it.

Reading and writing, Oh My. Cheers to the start of a new semester and good luck to everyone, young and old, embarking on new challenges and adventures!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mama Freebie

I was checking out The Rockstar Diaries and came across this awesome free print out - right here. Yupp, free is totally for me. So check it out, print it out, hang it up and snuggle with your little ones. I'll be back later to post for real. {it's been an awfully busy weekend}


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vintage Inspiration

Another linky party I'm joining up with is Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop. Every week {Gussy} sends out a prompt and on Thursday people post their interpretation of the prompt through pictures. Sounds fun right? I love creeping through what other people come up with! Plus I love reading Gussy Sews. Her blog is what inspired me to start my own!


This week's prompt was {Vintage}. Fun fun fun! Here are some of the things I stumbled upon.

source: blue nickel studios via eliza rae on pinterest

These earrings make me drool; especially the way pearls and gold sit against the turquoise. I would wear these everyday, even with sweats... even when Mike makes fun of me.

Then there is this dress I have been in love with since I started my Pinterest account. I'm sure many people have seen this already - it's been "pinned" around. But still. Wonderful.

source: frenchblue via eliza rae on pinterest

Maybe I can wear that dress while doing dishes in this kitchen.

source: 1.bp.blogspot via eliza rae on pinterest

Lastly, it's - drumroll please - my BIRTHDAY tomorrow! Vintage-themed parties are totally chic and pretty. More ruffles please :)

source: 1, 2