Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Quit Talking And Begin Doing

It's been five months since I wrote my Magic Maker post where I rediscovered and redefined my purpose.  And it's been five years since I first made my Mickey American Flag dress that I debuted on the 4th of July in 2016.  I'm so proud of my dress and how much people love it.  I've gotten so many compliments each time I've worn it!

The Mickey American Flag dress was just the beginning.  I was so happy with it that I created a few more.  I've worn my Mouseketeer one a few times- including at the D23 Expo in 2017 and for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2019.  I wore my Disney Cruise Line dress on Embarkation Day on our first cruise.  The cast member at check in loved it so much that she let Eliot and I go in the Castaway Club line!  Then, I wore my Halloween print to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2016.  I also have a few other dresses in my closet that I just haven't worn yet.  (Let's just say that I wasn't 100% happy with how a few of them turned out.)

I haven't worked on any new designs in years.  However, I did have a few other dress and skirt designs that I made on my old college laptop before it died.  (When I lost my computer, I also lost access to my designs and the software.)  As you know from my Calendar Conundrum, I haven't replaced the software yet.  But that ends soon.

For five years now, I have talked about opening my own clothing shop and dreamed about creating a clothing line.  I've never jumped in for one reason or another.  I've talked myself out of it so many times that it's ridiculous.  At one point, I thought I would need physical samples or no one would buy them.  (Not true because I know of a few other successful Etsy shops who only sell based off renderings.)  Other times, I've been afraid my designs aren't as good as other shops.  (My ideas are different... which would probably be beneficial.)  Most recently, I've allowed not having my old laptop and my design software to stop me from moving forward.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."  - Walt Disney

This afternoon, I finally quit talking and began doing.  I prepared to take the plunge to open my Wish Upon A Wardrobe clothing shop over on Etsy.  In an ironic twist of fate, once I finally got myself logged into my account, I realized that I had already taken the steps to open the shop way back in January of 2019.  For almost two and half years, it's sat there untouched just waiting for me to return.

So instead of opening the shop, I spent a few minutes this afternoon updating the shop and setting a few things up.  Right now, it's pretty bare bones, but I've gotten over the biggest hurdle by opening it and making an effort to prepare it for opening.   

Over the next few weeks, I'll be making item listings and getting the shop policies and announcements set up.  It's going to be a much different business model then both Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations so I can't just copy & paste everything word for word from those shops.  But I've got plenty of experience working with Etsy shops and shop design, so I'm not too worried about doing that part.

Soon, I'll be selling the dresses that I've waited five years to release.  I'm also working on getting my design software again.  I've recently realized just how much I've missed designing- especially when working with Canva making stuff for my blog updates.  

I still have a ways to go before I'm running at full capacity.  I'll probably have to re-learn a bit of the design software.  I'm also planning to learn totally new software that I can use to digitally draw things on my iPad Pro.  But all of that will come in time.

For today, I'm celebrating this small milestone on the path to my dream of having a clothing line.  I can't wait to see you grow up Wish Upon a Wardrobe!  °o°

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Temperature Rising

How it is already the end of June?!?!?  This month has flown by!  The end of June also means we're halfway through 2021... and how is that even possible?  This month has been really busy for us.  Although, the last two weeks weren't as busy as the first half.

The last time I checked in, Eliot and I were adjusting to our post-pandemic life and a reset to normal.  We were also taking on a bunch of smaller house projects.  Over Father's Day my family came to visit and we had a productive and fun weekend!  Since then, we have still been busy, but not quite as crazy busy as the first half of the month.

Immediately after my family left, we switched gears to getting ready for Eliot to be away for a few days.  Eliot was away at his conference from Tuesday June 22nd- until dinner time on Thursday the 24th.  I was by myself for a little over 48 hours and I got a bunch of stuff checked off of my to do list.  And I was really glad when Eliot finally got home!

On Friday the 25th, I had to get my blood work done and have a follow up with our doctor after my appointment from two weeks ago.  I wasn't looking forward to it at all... between having blood drawn and getting my blood pressure checked again, I was pretty much a nervous wreck all morning.  But I was ready to get it over with.

Eliot went to work early Friday morning, while I got up, ate a small breakfast, did a few things on my computer and then showered and got ready.  I drove straight to the office building, went inside and checked in.  I told the receptionist that Eliot was on his way to meet up with me for my follow up doctor appointment.

They took me inside to have my blood taken, and while it didn't hurt this time, it still didn't go as planned.  The lady couldn't get any blood to come out.  (I bled plenty after she took the needle out though.)  After two tries, she couldn't attempt it again due to policy.  I wouldn't let her do my left arm since that was where I had to have my blood pressure taken.  (Poor planning on my part.)  Instead, I agreed to come back after my appointment when another lady would be there to try.

Eliot was in the waiting room when I popped back out.  No sooner did I tell him about my blood draw adventures than we were being called into my next appointment.  We did the usual, weight, check-in questions, and then it was go time.  I was calmer than usual but still a little anxious.  This time, I wasn't as worried since I already knew my blood pressure would be high.  While the nurse took it, Eliot poked his head out from behind her and made me giggle.  It was a lot better having him there for moral support.

After, one of the training doctors came in to ask me some more questions and to do a quick exam.  She left and few minutes after that, she came back with our doctor.  This was my moment.  I asked both doctors a bunch of questions about the medication, the side effects, things to look out for, and what were the steps to get back off of it.  I asked all of the questions that have been swirling around my head the past two weeks, and at the end I was feeling better about it.  I left the appointment feeling more comfortable about it, and knowing that I'd be back in another two weeks for a check in. 

After checking out of that appointment, I told the receptionist that I needed to go back in to have blood drawn.  I was called right in.  Thankfully, the second time it worked, but it did take the other lady a few tries to find my vein.  Both ladies were in there at that point and we were all talking and laughing.  It made me much more comfortable and less nervous.  Both ladies were really kind and set my nerves at ease.  After I had two vials drawn (wait, what!?!), I was bandaged up and sent on my way. 

Eliot had to go back to work but I wanted to go into town.  I went over to Michael's to poke around for a little bit.  I didn't spend as much time there this time, but I did check out a few things.  Then, I went over to Eliot's work so we could package up an order.  I said goodbye to him, grabbed some food on the ride home, dropped off the package at our post office and went home to enjoy the rest of my afternoon. 

Unfortunately, this was the last day that was remotely bearable.  The past few days, we've been stuck in a major heatwave with record breaking temperatures for June.

On Saturday the 26th (aka Stitch 626 Day), Eliot and I got up and you could feel the oppressive heat before we even got out of bed.  The air conditioners were working as hard as possible, but it was still warm inside the house.  Outside, it was awful.  Eliot took our packages to the post office and brought home Dunkin Donuts like usual.  He also picked up my prescription.  Then, we tried to get through the day and stay cool.  

For the most part, we stayed in the living room and dining room area where it was the coolest.  We worked on orders when we could.  Eliot did a little bit of cleaning.  I took it easy since it was the first day I started my medication and I wasn't sure how it might affect me.  We also ended up watching three Hallmark movies- including two new ones that were on our DVR.  We enjoyed the Christmas movie; it was the last one from the new 2020 movies that we hadn't seen.  We also watched a new summer movie.

Sunday wasn't much better as it was 88° outside.  Eliot and I took it easy much like the previous day, working on mouse ears and desk accessories in the air conditioning downstairs.  We still got a lot done, even though it didn't really feel like it.

Monday was really hot... like... unbearably hot.  It was 97° in our town!  No matter how much the air conditioners were on, they couldn't cool the house down.  Eliot was cool at work, but I suffered through the day at home.  I didn't do much.  I did a few things on my computer, put the dishes away, and did laundry.  After doing laundry, I thought I was going to give myself heat stroke so I sat on the couch and watched television for the remainder of the afternoon.  I watched a bunch of When Calls the Heart episodes and made room on our DVR for more Christmas in July movies.

Which brings us to today... it wasn't quite as hot at our house, but it was still really hot. 

This afternoon, I was finally able to see my cousin after over a year.  We last saw each other in the fall of 2019 before Eliot and I had all of our trips.  But due to COVID, we haven't been able to visit with her.  She lives in Massachusetts and I haven't been able to see her out of fear of endangering myself or my Mom and Nana.  Now that we're all fully vaccinated, we made plans to get together!

Karen and I were supposed to meet up near the Maine and New Hampshire border like usual, but after I read the paperwork that came with my medicine, we changed our plans.  Instead, she drove up to Portland so I could be near Eliot.  That way, if I needed him to come get me because I was dizzy or unwell, he could.  I felt awful about her traveling all the way up here, but it worked out perfectly!  Instead, she came with her mom and we also met up with my aunt who lives outside of the Portland area as well!

We all met at the Olive Garden in South Portland at 1:00 pm.  It was so good to see everyone since it's been so long!  We talked, caught up and laughed our way through lunch.  The food was also amazing!  (I haven't been to an Olive Garden in forever because Eliot's not a huge fan of it.)  We all left with full bellies and smiles.

After, we split up so we could visit for a little bit longer.  Karen and I hopped in their car and headed over to the mall.  Aunt Janie and Aunt Diane went shopping elsewhere and we agreed to meet back at Olive Garden and my car at 3:30.  (Thankfully, I found a parking spot in the shade so my car wasn't as hot as it could have been!)

Karen and I walked around the mall in the air conditioning.  It was 97° in Portland so it was necessary to find somewhere cool.  We didn't have anywhere that we had to go, but we poked around in a few stores.  (I wanted to check out the Disney stuff in Hot Topic and the Funko Pops in Newbury Comics.)  We walked Macy's to JCPenney's to where Sears used to be.  Then, we headed back over to Starbucks to get drinks.  The mall was air conditioned, but after walking the length I definitely was in the mood for a cold, refreshing drink!  Before leaving the mall we went back over to the Hallmark store so I could pick up a gift (for Eliot) that I've been meaning to get!

Karen drove back over to Olive Garden and parked next to my Aunt Diane's car.  We all said our goodbyes.  We were in the shade but it was still incredibly hot and humid out so we didn't prolong them.  We all waved goodbye and headed in our separate directions.  I sat in my car while it cooled off.  I had planned to go to Walmart to buy groceries and I was planning to bring home Chili's for dinner, but I was starting to feel tired and sick.  After a quick call checking in with Eliot, I decided to just go home.  I drove on the back roads- the same way that I'd come.  

By the time I got to our Hannaford grocery store, I felt a little better so I stopped and got a few groceries.  Then, I went home, unpacked the car, and tried to stay cool.  I've gotten a few things done for the business, but I've mostly been on the couch in front of the fan all evening.  It's still ridiculously warm out!  But our living/dining room and our bedroom have air conditioners.  It's still warmer than I'd like, but at least the house is bearable!  (This also brings us to me attempting to stay cool while finalizing this post!)

Whew!  Eliot and I have certainly been up to a lot the past few weeks... not as much as the first few weeks of June, but it's still a lot more than what we had been doing!  I'm glad that I feel like I have a life again.  (And it's nice to feel like I can leave the house without endangering myself, others or my loved ones!)  I'm sure 2021 has a lot more adventures in store!  I can't wait to see how the second half of this year goes!!!  °o°

Thursday, June 24, 2021

All By Myself

All by myself... don't wanna be, all by myself, anymore.  Although honestly, sometimes it's nice to be by myself for a few days.  Eliot's been away at a work conference since Tuesday so I've had the house to myself for a little over 48 hours.  In the past, a work trip would usually mean cooking myself a nice dinner, drinking some wine and having a Hunger Games movie marathon.  This time, I've taken a little time to relax, but I've also been focused on getting some cleaning and organizing done while he's away.

My "me time" started Tuesday morning when Eliot's ride arrived right at 9 am.  He's riding down with his friend Eric from work who lives down the road from us.  (Where Eliot and I used the pool last summer.)  It worked out perfect because they can come right home instead of stopping to get Eliot's car at work on the way home.

Tuesday was a bit of a rough morning since we didn't get tons of sleep.  Eliot and I had a busy few days getting both businesses and orders in a good place before he left.  We didn't get much stuff done for the businesses last weekend other than Sunday night after we spent the weekend with my family.  (That night, we actually stayed up until 4 am Monday to get stuff done.)  We had a late night Monday into Tuesday getting a few more orders ready to mail, but we still made it to bed by 2 am.  I've been working on a few orders while Eliot's away but we turned the printers off to give them a break.  The rest of the orders for this week will be mailed after Eliot gets home.

Tuesday went by pretty quickly.  I had a productive morning working on some stuff on my computer.  Around 11 am, I started to get tired- which was expected after getting only 5 hours of sleep from 2-7 am.  I decided to take a nap on the couch and slept from about 11:30 to 1:30.  I woke up feeling refreshed and got back to work.  I got a bunch of online work done in the afternoon and I checked tons of things off of my to do list!

Later in the afternoon, I decided it was time to switch gears.  I went upstairs and took a shower.  Then, I spent the next hour or so trying on a bunch of my new clothes.  My rainbow items from Torrid had come in the mail, as well as a few other things that I'd purchased.  It was fun to have a mini fashion show while trying everything on... but after a while it got a bit hot, even with the air conditioner.

I went back downstairs to the living room where it was really cool and worked on a few small projects.  Eliot called me a few times throughout the day to check in.  Eliot and I also video chatted a few times.  Then, I spent the evening relaxing and being lazy while watching television before heading to bed early.

Wednesday morning, I woke feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!  I watched a Hallmark movie (that I'd already seen) from our DVR while eating breakfast.  Then I did some computer work while finishing the movie.  After the movie was over, I did a little more work on my laptop before switching gears.  Then, I spent most of the afternoon cleaning our dining room and organizing my business supplies.  I listened to Hamilton while working, and I even stopped for a lunch break at the intermission.  

During each of my lunch and dinner breaks, I watched an episode of When Calls the Heart from our DVR and then deleted them.  Christmas in July starts on Hallmark Channel soon and I want to have plenty of room on our DVR to record a few of our favorite movies, as well as some of the ones I haven't seen yet!

After lunch, I went right back to work cleaning.  I finally stopped for dinner later in the evening.  After cooking my food, I sat down and Eliot called me about 5 minutes later.  I told him that I'd call back after I was finished, but by then he was watching a Hallmark movie at his hotel.  Instead, I finished my tv episode, and then I started the Beauty and the Beast live action soundtrack and went back to work organizing my supplies! 

Eliot video called me around 10:30 after his movie ended.  We played with the filters and talked for a few minutes before saying goodnight since he had another early morning ahead of him.  I finished my soundtrack and tidied up for the night.  Then, I watched one more episode of my show before heading to bed.

Today has been mostly the same so far- a mix of computer work, watching tv during breakfast and doing a little bit of cleaning.  I've also been working on a few mouse ears that we need to glue tonight.  I've got more cleaning I'd like to get done, but I don't want to tear the dining room apart today.  (I'll probably work on it next week instead!)

I'm really happy with all of the progress I made though!  Eliot will be home sometime this afternoon... probably in the next 2-3 hours!  He'll definitely see a difference!  I feel really good about all of the things I checked off my list!  I'd call this a successful few days by myself!  Although, I'm really excited to see Eliot this afternoon!  °o°

Monday, June 21, 2021

Magical Merchandise: One Year of Stitch Shoppe

Loungefly's clothing line, Stitch Shoppe by Loungefly, made it's debut online a year ago yesterday.  While Loungefly is usually known for their popular mini backpacks, they also make pins, lanyards, keychains, wallets, other handbags and more!  When I saw their new apparel a year ago, and I was immediately smitten.

Photo Source

Stitch Shoppe is a great alternative to Disney's Dress Shop for cute clothing.  While Disney usually releases dresses (although they've released a few skirts, rompers, and a jumpsuit), Loungefly regularly has skirts and matching shirts.  Between the two companies, you can make celebrate Dapper Day everyday!

Photo Source

You might recall that I made my first Stitch Shoppe purchase while I was home with my family helping out after one of my Mom's surgeries.  I was at my parents' house with my Nana and I was online as soon as the collection dropped at noon.  I bought the Up and Cinderella dresses, as well as the Up skirt and matching shirt.

Photo Source

Since my first purchase, I've added a few more items to my closet.  I've also realized you don't have to be right online when the collection drops.  I haven't seen anything from Stitch Shoppe sell out immediately other than the special edition handbags.  I've actually gotten a few of the pieces when they were on sale!  (Yay Black Friday!)

Photo Source

Stitch Shoppe has also added men's shirts to their offerings!  So far, Eliot has one- the Mickey Christmas Lights shirt was on sale so I got him one to match my dress.

Photo Source

I have a few other outfits that I plan to purchase at some point!  Right now, I've got my eye on the Tiana skirt and shirt as well as the Cinderella skirt and skirt!

Photo Source

I absolutely love these clothes and I can't wait to see what else they create!  I really love the bright fun colors of all the pieces!  Stitch Shoppe is quality clothing and definitely worth the pricing- even though I love a good sale!  The scenes from the movies make me so happy!  And the little details make the pieces extra special.

Photo Source

I can't wait to see what Stitch Shoppe come out with next!  Since Loungefly is owned by Funko, the possibilities are pretty much endless.  In their first year, not only have they released Disney and Pixar designs, but they've also made clothing for Coca-Cola, Barbie, Marvel and Peanuts!  I'd love to see a collection for Harry Potter.  I'm also hoping they'll do stuff for Star Wars and Sesame Street, as well as the more obscure stuff like Once Upon a Time, Greatest Showman or even Hamilton!  And of course I'd really love to see more Disney, Pixar and holiday designs!

Photo Source

These are perfect to wear to the Disney parks, but they're also the perfect way to add an extra sprinkle of pixie dust, magic and fun at home.  Now that I'm actually leaving our house again, I can't wait to have an occasion to wear my Stitch Shoppe outfits!  °o°

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day 2021

Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there!  I hope you had a great day!  Eliot and I have had an eventful few days as my family visited us this weekend!

The fun started Friday night when Jeremy drove up so he'd be here first thing in the morning on Saturday.  He arrived before Eliot got home from work, so he and I hung out and caught up.  Eliot arrived about an hour or so later with my dinner.  Then the three of us hung out flipping back and forth between NBA playoff basketball and NHL playoff hockey!  Jeremy doesn't watch hockey unless he's visiting us, but he did get a kick out of watching the Vegas Golden Knights lose to the Montreal Canadiens.  (As Sharks fans, Vegas is our least favorite NHL team and we always cheer against them.)

Saturday morning, Eliot and I got up and packaged up the orders we had to get out in the mail.  After Eliot dropped off the packages, he came home with breakfast from Dunkin Donuts for all three of us.  He bought me and Jeremy donuts but I also had a breakfast sandwich that I didn't know about.  When I discovered it, Jeremy regretted not asking for his own sandwich, so we split mine.  (I'm a good big sister!)

The next few hours, we waited for our parents to arrive.  They got a later start than they'd planned so they weren't going to arrive until mid-afternoon.  Eliot went outside to mow the lawn.  Jeremy chilled out on the couch and I did a little bit of cleaning.  Around 2:00 pm, their car pulled into our driveway.

The rest of the afternoon, we worked on some small projects around the house.  Mom cleaned a some things in the garage.  Eliot and Dad trimmed some of our trees on the edge of the lawn in our back yard.  Eliot and Jeremy took our broken storm door off from our front porch entrance.  Dad restrung the dishwasher drainpipe so it wouldn't be in the way of everything under the kitchen sink.  I bounced between everyone helping and making sure everyone had plenty of water.

It wasn't a lot, but the small projects we got done were a huge help.  Eliot realized that our grass on the edge of the lawn was dying because the tree branches were taking all the sunlight.  Now we can at least get the grass some sun.  I've been annoyed about the dishwasher drain for over two years from the time we fixed it.  And taking the storm door off was a huge relief.  It's been broken since a few weeks after we moved into our house.  It's a pain in the butt to close; you practically have to slam it shut.  Plus, it's still dropping little pieces of glass all over the front porch.  With puppies coming soon, I wanted that to go away so we can buy a new one!

After we finished with everything, we did a quick clean up.  Mom, Dad and Jeremy drove into Biddeford to check into the hotel.  Eliot and I took quick showers and headed in a few minutes after them.  We met them at their hotel before driving over to Ninety Nine Steakhouse for dinner.  The restaurant was too full to bring us right in, but we were able to be seated immediately outside.  It was warm but not too hot so we decided to do that.  We all sat at one of the 6 picnic tables and it was actually really nice!  We had a wonderful meal and even got to see the beautiful sunset!  Then, we said goodnight to my parents and Eliot, Jeremy and I drove home.  Jeremy stayed up to watch one of the NBA games but Eliot and I went straight to bed.

Sunday morning, we got up early since we had plans to meet Mom and Dad in Saco at the IHOP.  After dropping Jeremy's car off at the park and ride in Saco, we arrived a few minutes before Mom and Dad so we put our names in.  They finally seated us about 30 minutes later.  At that point, Mom didn't feel well so she went back to sit in the car.  (We think some of her medicine might make her nauseous.)  Dad, Jeremy, Eliot and I had our breakfast inside but Eliot kept running food out to the car for Mom.  Our server was great and put a rush on Mom's eggs so she had something to eat.  After a delicious breakfast, we went out to check on Mom.  Thankfully, she was feeling better.

Next, we drove across the street to the Hannaford grocery store parking lot.  My aunt and uncle were dropping Nana off with us so she could go home with Mom and Dad after visiting with them for the week.  My cousin Luke was actually behind us at the traffic light.  It was really funny... I saw him dancing around in his car like an idiot out of the corner of my eye but it took me a second to realize it was him when I looked in the rearview mirror.  Suddenly, I exclaimed "Oh, it's Luke!" and we all waved back.

We all parked in a quiet section of the parking lot.  Luke had his daughter with him and it was fun to see her.  (We haven't seen her since last Mother's Day and she's gotten so big!  She's almost three now!)  Last time she was quiet but she was so talkative this time!  She told us all about her new swing set.  They only live about 20 minutes from Eliot and me, so we're all going to try to get together soon.  We also visited with my aunt and uncle for a few minutes.  Then, we got Nana moved from their car to Mom and Dad's car and we said goodbye and headed in different directions.

Mom, Dad and Nana went back to Biddeford to drop a few things off at Goodwill that we took out of our garage.  The three of us kids went into Hannaford to get sunscreen and waters.  (It was about 86° so we knew we needed to hydrate a lot and wear plenty of sunscreen.)  We then drove to Old Orchard Beach and Pirates Cove mini golf.  Our parents and Nana arrived about 10 minutes later and parked in the shade.

Then, Dad, Jeremy, Eliot and I went in to play.  (Mom sat in the car with Nana.)  We did the "easier" course- which was fun since I haven't played that one in a while.  Dad kicked all of our butts and got three hole in ones.  Eliot came in second and also got a hole in one.  (Which didn't surprise me; he usually does well.)  Jeremy and I didn't have a great mini golf day and I definitely bit the dust bringing up the rear.  We had a ton of fun mini golfing though.  But it was so hot in the sun today.

Thankfully, Eliot knows me well enough to know that I would need water.  He tucked a cold one into his cargo pocket and I drank the entire thing throughout the course.  I kept trying to find shade whenever possible.  At hole 11, there was a stone edge in the shade.  We had caught up with a few of the families in front of us, so I sat on that rock in the shade for about 10 minutes.  That really got me through the rest of the holes.  

At the end, we didn't win the free game, but Dad did get a scratch card with $1 off each person at a future visit!  The coupon is good for the Bar Harbor Pirates Cove, so we might go mini golfing again over the 4th of July while we're home!

After, we walked back to the car to visit with Mom and Nana for a few minutes.  We gave Dad his Father's Day card.  Even though we were in the shade, the heat was catching up with me.  I had Eliot drive our Jeep over so I could get inside and sit in the air conditioning.  We talked for a few more minutes and then said our goodbyes.  

Eliot and I dropped Jeremy off at the park and ride so he could drive back south to New Hampshire.  Eliot and I went to Dairy Queen after he suggested it.  I haven't had a Blizzard in forever, and I thought a small one would be the perfect thing to help cool me off.  Eliot took over driving and that helped me feel better too.  My small cookie dough Blizzard hit the spot and I slowly ate it while Eliot ran into Walmart for a minute.  Then we headed home a different way that he had gone a few days prior.  It was fun to see a different area on the backroads.  We saw lots of farm land, horses and cows.  We also found a new place to get ice cream!

When Eliot and I got home, we basically went straight up to bed for a nap.  I was very overheated, hot, exhausted, and I desperately needed to cool off.  Our bedroom has the air conditioner so I went right up there.  My cold washcloth helped and I woke from my nap feeling much better.  I'm a little sunburnt, but I feel good otherwise.

Eliot went to Subway to get us sandwiches because I didn't feel like cooking.  Now, we're watching the Vegas vs Montreal hockey game and getting ready to put in a late night working on mouse ear and desk accessory orders!  We'll probably be up pretty late, but it was worth it to have a fun weekend off with my family!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend too!  °o°

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Forward Progress

Yesterday, I did a quick check in on what Eliot and I have been up to so far in June... but the truth is that was only part of the story.  Another reason that Eliot and I have been so busy is that we've been working really hard on projects all over the house.  I am 100% serious about getting our two puppies sooner than later, and that has pretty much become my main focus.  The only obstacle in my path right now is getting the house finished enough so the puppies will be safe.

Lately, it feels like we've been in overdrive working on the house.  I've told you about Eliot's Funko Pop Display in his office that he started over Memorial Day.  At this point, we've decided that we like the idea and that we're going to put those shelves all the way down our upstairs hallway.  It's the perfect place to display our Funko Pops.  Last weekend, Eliot and I measured the hallway and calculated how many of the shelves we need to get in order to finish his office and the hallway.

Speaking of the upstairs hallway, Eliot also recently built both of my new 3x3 storage cube units and he moved them into place in the hallway.  Once they were all set, he helped me move a bunch of my Loungefly bags out of our master bedroom and onto those units.  The bags aren't organized, but the storage units are full!  (Organizing my bags is something I can do later this summer or this fall when it's cooler out.)

The weekend after we got our COVID shots, Eliot and I built one of our new bookcases for Eliot's office to put 3D material on.  We still have one more bookcase in our storage unit that we'll probably bring home this weekend.  I'm so glad that I thought of these bookshelves.  We finally have a way to organize all of our 3D material by color and they're easy to get to!  When we're done, we'll have four of them and that should be plenty of space for all of our material, as well as a few of Eliot's collectibles!

We've also been busy cleaning the entryway from the garage.  Eliot and I have always entered our house through our front door, but I'd like to start using the garage entrance so wet, dirty little puppy feet won't be tracking in mud all over the wood floor in the living room.  After Squirrel-Gate, the entryway was where a lot of the stuff from my office ended up.  (My office is right off of the entryway.)  Eliot and I cleaned and moved all of that stuff back into my office, or to another location.  

In addition to that, we've also moved the 2x2 Kallax from his office into place.  When we bought the bookcases for his office, we knew he'd have to move that out.  It's a little beat up from moving from MA, to Biddeford, to our house, so it was the perfect one to put in the entryway.  Eliot put the new white drawers and cubby units for it together over Memorial Day weekend.  Since then, he installed them and moved it into place!

I've also started to organize the closet in our entryway.  We don't have a pantry in our kitchen, so that's what we use instead.  The closet is filled with shelves instead of a clothes rod, so we assume that's where the previous owners stored extra food.  Since it's just the two of us, we also use that closet to store our hats, mittens, gloves and all of our winter gear. I've been trying to organize all of them in containers that fit perfectly between the shelves.  We'll probably put the dog food and supplies in there as well.  It doesn't have to be perfect right now, but it feels good to make progress!

Eliot also assembled our new exercise machine last weekend.  I saw it in an ad on Facebook, and it looked different than what we already have.  Eliot used to love doing the climbing stair machine at the gym.  Instead, this is more of a climbing up a ladder motion.  It works out your entire body, so we thought for the price it was worth trying out.  Plus, it can fold down and it doesn't take up much room!

Last but not least, I've continued to try to get my accessories organized.  I finally spray sealed all of my new Pair Eyewear frame toppers the other day.  (A bunch of people in our Facebook group said it was best to spray the old ones that don't have the glossy finish.)  I have so many of them at this point and I've been putting it off.  But since Eliot and I found the correct spray, I figured it was time.  It took me an entire afternoon to spray, let them dry and then do the next batch.  I'm so glad that's done!

Now, I'm shifting my focus to storing them.  After a lot of internal debate back and forth, I've finally decided to make my own board.  Most people buy magnetic boards, but that can cause the toppers to flatten out.  I don't want to spend a ton of time having to reshape them daily, so I'm going to make a hanging board that will keep their natural shape.  Last weekend, I measured out the space I want to put it.  After, I measured a few of my toppers and did some quick math.  I've got a plan for the size of the board and how many hangers I'll need!  So Eliot and I have yet another house project on our list (and another visit to Home Depot in our future) but it'll help get us more organized!

None of these house projects have been a big deal, but anything is better than nothing; plus, it's nice to see more progress!  Hopefully, we can keep moving forward!  °o°

Friday, June 18, 2021

Reset to Normal

The past few weeks have felt like a breath of fresh air.  Not only have we literally gotten more fresh air, but the figurative winds of change have been blowing our way as well.

Eliot and I have been shifting from the way things have been for the past year to the way things will be moving forward.  It feels like a reset to normal- or whatever normal will look like in the future.  We're saying goodbye to most of the restraints from the pandemic and saying hello to the new possibilities of adding furry friends to the family.

To put it simply, we've got a lot of stuff going on.  This is the busiest I've been in over a year.  In fact, it's probably the busiest I've been since Eliot and I got back from our two months of crazy traveling back in November of 2019 into January of 2020.  When we returned from those trips, I was really sick and we didn't do too much for weeks.  By the time I was finally feeling like myself again, that's when everything shut down.

Now that things are going back to normal, I probably won't keep documenting pretty much every exciting little thing that we do.  But it's been fun to keep track of what we've been doing and when over the past year.  This has kind of been my own little pandemic journal.  Now that things are going back to normal, I'm hoping that a trip to Walmart or Home Depot won't be the shining excitement of my week!  Plus, when we have two puppies I probably won't have time to think- much less write about all of our daily activities.  But I thought I'd do a few more to round out my posts and at least finish up what's going on in June.  Eliot and I have had a really busy month so far!

We kicked off June with my Dad's birthday.  The next day, Eliot and I had our 2nd COVID vaccinations.  The next few days, we were a bit under the weather, but we made it through.  Then, we kicked off a busy week.  Eliot had a tire appointment for the Jeep on Monday the 7th.  He was supposed to have a massage up in South Portland on Tuesday the 8th.  We had planned to make an evening of it, but they had to cancel last minute.  I was a little disappointed, but we decided to go up another time.  Then, on Wednesday the 9th, we celebrated Eliot's Birthday.  On Friday the 11th, I had a bit of a rough day after Eliot and I had our annual physicals.  (Thankfully, we've been so busy that I haven't really had much time to think about it since then.)

This week, I've spent most of my days alternating between cleaning the house and working on orders.  Thankfully, I've been really productive and I've checked so many things off of my to do list!  (I love feeling productive!!!)  The weather is warm but not super hot this week, so I'm trying to take advantage of the house being cool.  Soon enough, it will be so hot that I'll be stuck in front of the AC all day.

On Monday the 14th, it was Flag Day and Eliot went back to our doctors office to get his blood taken for tests.  Then on Wednesday the 16th, we celebrated the two week mark of having our 2nd COVID shots and freedom from face masks!  That evening, we took a night off from the businesses to go up to Portland to run some errands.

First, we went to Chipotle for dinner before going to all the places on my list.  After eating in the truck, we went to PetSmart to look at puppy supplies.  Then, we made a quick stop over at Lowes to pick a few things up.  We ran over to Burlington to see if they had anything from the Disney Parks.  I've been seeing so many posts about people finding parks merchandise at Burlington lately.  (I think it's because Disneyland had so much merchandise to get rid of after being closed for a year.)  We found a little Minnie Mouse dog outfit.  Then, we also found some Disney Wedding picture frames, headbands, socks and a bunch of Disneyland Minnie hats.  The prices were super low so we bought the frames, I got a headband and we got some socks.

Next, Eliot and I went over to Target since they were closing at 10.  While there, we got two pools for the puppies as well as a few other things that we went in for.  Finally, we went over to Walmart for the last things on our list.  We quickly looked at the puppy stuff there before gathering a few groceries and calling it a night!

Which brings us to today, and one of our final big events of this week, as we celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary!  (Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!  I hope you have a great day!  We will see you tomorrow!)

As you can see, our schedule has been jam-packed with events and appointments the past few weeks... at least for us.  (Compared to the past year, it's crazy busy!)  But I always did seem to thrive better when I was busy; so I've embraced it.  Even after spending most of the past year at home, it feels normal to be busy again.  

And we've got more in store!  This weekend, my parents are coming down to visit and Jeremy will be driving up from New Hampshire as well.  We're planning a day of cleaning and working on house projects tomorrow.  Then, on Sunday we will be celebrating Father's Day!  Hopefully it will be both a fun and productive weekend!  °o°

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Puppy Preparations

As many of you know, Eliot and I have been planning to get two puppies for a long time now.  We've put it off for years, waiting until we were ready for the responsibility... and waiting until our house was ready for the puppies and the mischief they will bring.  This past year, I realized how badly I wanted, and needed, to get them.  So recently, we've been making it our mission to get the house ready to open our doors to welcome them.

Photo Source

In addition to getting the house ready, I've started to look into getting all of the supplies that we'll need to care for two puppies.  Up until recently, Eliot and I have only bought puppy stuff here and there... and what we have bought has mostly been fun stuff like Disney collars and bandanas or San Jose Sharks collars and leashes.  We've bought a few more things now, like the Snoopy dog beds we found at TJMaxx at the end of May.

The past few weeks, I've kicked my puppy preparations into a higher gear.  Towards the end of May, I did a search for all of the shelters in Maine from Bangor down to the Portland area.  I was already following most of them on Facebook, but I did start following two or three more.  A few days later, Eliot sent me links to a few puppies he found on Pet Finder.  Two were located in Manchester, NH and the other two were in MA.  I looked up those shelters and started to follow them on Facebook too.

On June 1st, I was taking a break and innocently scrolling through Facebook when I saw that the Hancock County SPCA had just gotten two black lab puppies that were 10 weeks old.  They were brothers and they were so adorable.  They were trying to get them a home together, but they could separate them if necessary.  It really took every ounce of fortitude I had not to drop everything and apply for them.  They were at the shelter in my hometown... just minutes from my parents' house.  The same shelter that Elissa and I volunteered at years ago.  The one I always look at and think of all the animals that need homes whenever I drive by.  But I know that we're not ready for them.  We're still trying to finish organizing the house and it wouldn't be fair to them.

But my resolve is starting to crumble, and I can feel the crack in my armor growing.

We'll get them soon Mel... not much longer.

Instead, I've forged ahead with cleaning the house and taking some time to look at the prices of puppy supplies online.  I've found a few lists from pet supply stores, blogs, and websites about puppies.  (It's been a while since either Eliot or I had a dog, so I figured a list of puppy necessities was a good place for us to start.)  I've found a few promising items and marked the websites of supplies to go back and show Eliot.

Photo Source

Last night, Eliot and I were finally able to go look at supplies in store.  I've wanted to do this for a few weeks, but we've been so busy with orders that we have focused all of our attention on that.  We finally took took a night off to run some errands that we've been putting off.  (It was also a great way to celebrate the first day of our new face mask freedom!)  While up in Portland, we took a few minutes to look at puppy supplies at both PetSmart and Walmart to get an idea of pricing.

We browsed through most of the dog aisles at PetSmart.  We checked out the toys, leashes, collars, food bowls, beds, brushes and crates.  Then, we spent a few minutes checking out the playpens and gates.  We ended up buying two small patriotic eagle toys that were on sale.  (We were only going to get one, but they had two and I figured that they might destroy one of them.)  When Eliot was at the register, I went over to look at the puppy training schedule information just to get an idea of what they offered.

Eliot and I also went to Walmart to pick up a few other things.  While there, we took a few minutes to check out the dog stuff.  They had a much smaller selection, but we still wanted to get an idea of our options.  We did find some cute pop up bowls.  They also had a few pop up "crates" that might make sense for traveling or road trips.

We planned to go to Target and were ahead of schedule so we decided to check out the new Burlington store.  We were looking for Disney stuff, but while there we also looked at the dog aisle.  Eliot found a cute Snoopy plush toy that we ended up buying.

After that, Eliot and I went to Target to get the plastic teal kiddie pool that I first saw a few weeks ago.  As soon as I saw it, I immediately thought of the puppies.  (I've been keeping my eyes peeled for puppy stuff.)  Since we aren't sure when we're getting the puppies, and pools are seasonal, I wanted to get one now so we have it.  Our family dog Lucky never really liked swimming that much.  I want the puppies like the water and see it as a fun thing.  I'm planning to play with them in the pool when they're little so they'll grow right up having fun in it.  It's probably not deep enough for them to learn to swim in it, but it will be something fun for them on a hot day!

I wasn't sure if Target would even have the pools, but we decided to check since we had planned to go there anyways.  According to the website, Portland and Biddeford were sold out of them, but Bangor had two left.  My parents were going up to Bangor to get something for their business, so they said they'd check for me last night.  Eliot and I decided to check the Portland store anyways, but went in not expecting to find them- though I was hopeful.  We reached the outdoor section and they had a stack of at least 30!  I called my parents to double check- and they had no luck in Bangor.  Mom and Dad couldn't find one at any of the stores they went to.  I told them we had at least 30 to pick from, and I thanked them for looking.  Eliot and I got two teal kiddie pools... I figure for $10 more, now we have an extra one in case one breaks.  And, we will also have one pool per dog for next year if both pools make it through this summer!

I've kept my eyes open for cute dog merchandise and decor too.  When Eliot and I were wandering through Walmart after we got our first coronavirus shots, we found some cute dog statues that we bought for our front porch.  I've also bought a few different Disney dogs things over the past year or so.  I found a cute Pluto shirt at Target that I bought and I've found a few things online that I've tucked away.

I also caved and bought a few things from Disney along with my rainbow items.  I couldn't leave the puppies out so I bought two collars and the belt bag from Disney's 2021 Rainbow Collection.  I've seen a lot of people use belt bags for dog treats while they're training their dogs.  I decided to get a larger one since I figure that I'll need something to hold my cell phone and keys to keep my hands free if I'm walking two dogs.  Plus, I can use it for treats and extra poop bags.

Eliot and I will probably get more supplies over the next few weeks.  I don't want to go crazy buying stuff, but it does make sense to buy the things we know we'll need.  At the least, we'll probably get crates, water and food bowls, car seat covers and a few puppy toys.  Then, we can pick up collars, leashes, food and treats after we get the puppies.

Photo Source

Of course, the biggest part of our puppy preparations has been working to get the house cleaned and organized.  You're probably wondering what's taking so long... 

Our house also doubles as Eliot's and my workshop for our businesses, so it's been hard to get everything organized in a way that doesn't distract us from completing orders.  For years, I've used the dining room table as my workshop.  But having paints, paint brushes, glitter and small pieces around isn't safe for puppies.  These past few weeks, I've been gathering all of my supplies and organizing them in containers.  Then, they've been getting moved to my office where they're put away, but still accessible.

Photo Source

The house won't be completely finished (with art hung and decor out) when we get our puppies, but Eliot and I are trying to finish most of the organizing in the downstairs spaces, upstairs hallway and our master bedroom at the very least.  Then, we know that those spaces are safe and "puppy proofed" before we bring them home.  We're still planning to do some more wall painting eventually, but right now, our main focus is to make the house safe for puppies.  The cosmetic stuff can get finished later.

We won't be letting the puppies into Eliot's office and both guest bedrooms anyways... maybe when they're older but they'll never be allowed in Eliot's office for their own safety.  Eliot's office has the 3D printers in it, and that means small pieces of plastic that are easily everywhere.  No matter how many times he vacuums it, it seems like it just multiplies again.  Plus, the printer plates get hot and the puppies won't understand that.  I don't want any burnt noses or paws, so Eliot's office will always be gated off.

Our plan is to finish cleaning and organizing the house over the next few weeks.  Then, we'll start to analyze everything and "puppy proof" it.  We're also planning to get a few of the doggy gates ahead of time so we can install them and start getting used to them.

Photo Source

Then, I'm going to be starting to fill out and submit applications at shelters throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  A lot of them will hold your application for a few months, so you don't have to keep filling it out every time they have animals you'd like to apply for.  I'm also planning on sending the letter I've had written for the past month making sure that each shelter will allow us to adopt two puppies.

Eliot and I are not sure when we'll finally be bringing the puppies home; I guess it all depends on when we find a match at a shelter or rescue.  (But I'm really hoping that we'll find the right match sometime this summer!)  What I do know, is that with all of our preparations, we'll be ready when we finally find our fur babies!!!  °o°