What is my Day Really Like?

I've been yearning for full time employment since Christmas.  Not that I haven't appreciated & been thankful this little self-employment/unemployment thing has worked out - believe me it's been sooooo helpful for the business!  I feel like I've gotten so much done, have been able to refocus, & now know what I'm saving for.  But with the opportunity to have full-time employment getting a bit closer, I wanted to share with you what a typical self-employed day looks like.  I'm afraid my schedule is going to get shaken up (hopefully!) so I'll have to set up a new one.  But it's good when things change....hopefully I'll be able to squeeze everything that I want to into left over hours & weekends.  It was hard juggling a relationship, full time job, & part time obsession with self-employment.  This adventure has been fun but I'm excited to start thinking about the present & not the future.  I need to save, I need to have a consistant cash flow, I need stability.  I hope that in the next few years I'm able to grow Five Sixteenths enough to enjoy self-employment rather than self-employment/unemployment!

Here is my typical self-employed/unemployed day:

8am - If I haven't been up crazy late the night before, I usually wake up right about now.  I turn on the coffee maker, wash my face, brush my teeth, maybe get in the shower, etc.  Then I sit down to watch my shows on Hulu.  Usually, it's Colbert & the Daily Show and then whatever show was on the night before.  Sometimes these shows carry over into my work time.  I drink my coffee & enjoy reading some blogs.  This is my wake up time.

9:30 am (ish) - I start to work.  I publish blog posts for the day, write new ones, brainstorm.  I'm still in bed at this point.  I'm so glad I'm able to move to a desk now!  I respond to emails, take care of a few housekeeping things on the computer.  I work on client designs, blog designs, stationery designs, photo edits, listing products, etc.  Sometimes it's just my time to mess around with ideas in my head.

11:00 am (ish) - This is when serious work is started.  I'll finish up design files or drafts & email them to clients.  I'll also take pictures for the various shops because this is when the best light is.  I may even end up editing the photos.  I also take measurements as I photograph.  I say this is when the serious work starts because I'm nearing the middle of the day.  If I'm working with a client I try to email them when they will be able to check it - to me that seems about noon (lunch breaks) or after work.  I try to have emails waiting as best I can!  If I have to do any running around, I tend to do it in the middle of the day too, just because I realize I really should get up & start doing things! It's also a good little break.

1 pm (ish) - That's usually lunch time for me.  I'll have a little lunch, pay more attention to the reruns of Doctor Who or Law & Order that I have on in the background.  I'll mess around on the computer, put the dishes away or in the dishwasher, what have you.  Catch up on blogs that post in the afternoon.

2 pm (ish) - Get back to work.  I'll respond to more emails, work on more blog posts, search for places to advertise.  Create new things for the shop, list stuff, etc.  I'll also begin preparing any orders for shipment from 516VINTAGE or from the Five One Six handmade shop.

3:30 pm (ish) - To the post office if need be.  I hate going to the post office....so I put it off! But now that we've got the office done & my printer is set up, I'm gonna schedule pick ups! Hooray for the internet!

5 pm (ish) - I've probably just gotten back from the post office & any other leftover running around that needed to be done.  Sometimes it's dinner time, sometimes it's mess around & craft time.  I try to keep my business hours Monday - Friday between 9am and 5pm.  So after five, I'll rarely reply to emails.  Sometimes I put the work down to hang out with my man.  Sometimes he plays games or is gone so I can sneak in some more work.  I don't really like working all the time but it's also fun for me to make things.  So I don't really see it as work.  Work is the stuff I hate to do like count things, inventory, take measurements, & list things.  Work is work.  Creating things is fun! So I'll create stationery until the world ends!!

I don't do any work (the things I hate) or respond to emails on the weekends.  Unless it's something I need Zach in on like the Sunday we made the inventory sheets, I try to keep my weekends pretty open. I continue to make things but we also like to travel.  So weekends are for museum visits and the like.  Once we get the house done hopefully we can do more of that!  As I go into self employment, I'm going to still keep my business hours M-F.  Of course I'll need to do work on these things on the weekends, but emails & responses will wait until Monday.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that outside of my ventures, I still have a life.  Though you can shop 24 hours I may be asleep, or it may be the weekend, I may be out of town, or I may have a day job!  I foresee a lot of cramming things in happening if I get full time work.  But I also see a lot of focusing & realizing when to say no.  I see a lot of scheduling time & a lot of put everything down, you need a break time.  I also know that Zach & I need to be better at us time.  It happens a lot that as I'm putting something down, he's picking something up & vice versa.  Once we have our weekends free from fixing the house, I see us getting back into the groove.

I really hope a move into full time employment will help the Five Sixteenths brand grow.  I've loved this little adventure but I need to take this serious step in order to plan for a self-employed future!

xox, Moe.

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


My VoxBox Vlog // an Intro & a Little Review

I got my Sweetheart VoxBox from Influenster the other day & thought it was time to do a little vlog!  If you want to hear me ramble on, see our couch & blank walls, and learn a bit more about the products, check it out!
Hope you enjoy hearing me ramble!  I really liked this box!

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe spray - the bottle is huge!

xoxo, Moe

ps. Alycia from the Curious Pug & Kristin of Tales form the Nook.  Click the links, check 'em out!

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


4 Reasons Why You Should Hire Someone with an Art Degree

So, yesterday I was anxiously waiting for a call.  A call for a job.  I've been looking for full time work since we moved & had the opportunity to interview for a fun, fast paced company last week.  Through the interview, the interviewer stated he was looking for a creative person to bring onto their team.  This got me thinking: Why should you hire someone who is creative? Why hire someone with an art degree in to a job that has nothing to do with art?  Well, this made me examine my qualifications & how my degree had affected my place in, well, the workplace.  Here are 4 reasons why you should hire someone with an art degree:

We are creative thinkers by nature - We don't see things as they are & can often approach a problem in a different way than others.  Some may say a fresh approach.  And as individual artists we see things a lot differently.  Some see things in parts, some see parts as a whole, others see how a whole can affect something else.  We never see things as they are.

We learned a lot in school - We took history classes related to all sorts of history.  And we were required to take it seriously.  I believe the broad range of classes involved in studying art help us see how parts affect the whole, how the past affects the future, & how things are similar or relate to each other.  This training in the evolution of art helps us to see how we can grow, what needs to be done to reach a goal, & helps us reflect on the past.  Overall, this training makes us great thinkers & reflectors: we know how we did what we did & why.

We can plan - Whether you're taking on a painting, illustration, sculpture, or logo you have to plan spatially & plan out ideas.  We're wonderful composers of ideas.  Again, we can bring parts together into a whole.

We're familiar with criticism & how it effects us and the end product - In art school, criticisms from teachers & fellow students are normal.  Because we identify strongly with our work we can take it to heart but we can also turn it around & execute something better.  We bring a drive to grow & to succeed to the workforce.  We also know how to give criticism.  We use words like less successful rather than this is bad because we know the value others have put into their work.  We use words that encourage rather than belittle.  That might make us good management material *wink*

I consider studying art to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I believe I am well equipped to learn any new task, to approach things with a creative solution, to work well on a team, & to see all sides.  I wouldn't trade what I'd studied for anything.  I think I'm very lucky to have been able to make that decision.

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Guest Post // Positive Quotes

Today I have the lovely Rebecca, Feature Sponsor of February here sharing some wonderful inspirational quotes for your Saturday. Enjoy!

* * * *
Hi everyone,

My name is Rebecca and to my friends I'm know as LuckyRainbowDesigns.  LuckyRainbowDesigns is my little space of the internet wher I love to blog, capture pretty instagrams, tweet, hang out on Etsy & Facebook and lately make mini films with the help of Vine.

I created & set up LuckyRainbowDesigns in 2009 in a response to the lack of pretty handmade cards available in Ireland.  I found myself looking for a special card for a friend for family member and fount that they were overprices & lacking in imagination and so LuckyRainbowDesigns was born.

A huge part of my creative process is blogging. I particularly enjoy connecting with many talented bloggers from all over the world, reading their daily thoughts, tutorials, and advice and just generally spending free time drooling over beautiful blog designs.

A popular post on my blog is the Positive Quotes series.  I am someone who enjoys a daily hit of inspiration when motivation is low to encourage or push me further and by sharing inspiring and positive quotes I've gradually noticed that I'm not alone.  Positive Quotes are hugely popular with many of you out there and while they may not be everyone's cup of tea, they certainly add that little something to my day or life and genrally provide me with a new way of seeing, doing or learning.

Below are some of my very favourite quotes (all of which have been pinned to my Positive Quotes Pinterest board, so feel free to share!) and I've outlined the reasons why I love them so!

As an Irish gal living in Ireland, tea is a staple part of our diets over here! We have a saying that ‘a cup of tea fixes everything’ and generally if I am being consumed by thoughts, I like to sit down, write them on some pretty paper and indulge in a cup of tea with a biscuit or ten!
via Pinterest (if you know the original source, let us know!)

I’ve met so many people in my 30 years who like to compare their lives to others either near them or in far reached lands. We like to think that the grass is always greener, but sometimes we don’t stop to think how comparing our life to others leads to disappointment or unhappiness in our own. This quote reminds me to be grateful what I have, to live in the present moment and quite simply, enjoy!

(again, no direct source! Let us know - maybe available on etsy?)

I am, without a doubt, a glass half full person and cannot abide those who chose to live a negative life, who see the worse, rather than best in people and are glum people. Sitting around believe nothing nice will ever happen will of course not lead to nice things happening. The universe rewards positive thoughts and hard work and you have to….have to believe that something wonderful is about to happen and is quite literally around the corner!

This quote could not ring more true and I’ve personally seen through friends or family members how holding on to anger hurts no one but the person holding on to it. It’s a waste or energy, time and your life, so let it go. If you’re that person, stop now, relax, let it go and move on. Your time can be better spent.

Dream big! Don’t dream small, tiny or insignificantly! Dream big, huge, and even colossal. You never know where it might lead you!

* * * *
Aren't those quotes awesome?  Please follow her Positive Quotes board, pop by her blog, & give her a shout out on Twitter!  If you'd like to be next months' feature sponsor, visit the Advertise page or shoot me an email!

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Fan Friday #90

Another week down!  This weekend our bookshelf is coming & we are going to finish up the house if it kills us.  I swear! Finally we can begin unpacking!  I'm hoping that next weekend we can get our desks built & then we'd really be done.  My goal is no more boxes by June.  You know those little leftover boxes of stuff you don't need so you keep them packed saying you'll unpack them later? Then a year passes & you still haven't?  Well, that's not happening.  If I don't need it, it's being donated!  I also might open back up the online yard sale like I did ages ago before the move.  Sort of a shop my closet + home sale deal.

Any way, this week was totally productive: more things went into the shop, blogs were designed, photos were taken, inventory was shot.  It was a good week.  Here's what I'm loving:

Spotted Moth has been a long time favorite shop of mine.  If only I lived in California I could head out to their brick & mortar!  This Bonnie Lass dress has me dreaming of Summer.  The sale section has me drooling, too.

I wonder how Zach would feel about this little detail on the shower curtain? It it manly to add ribbons to shower curtains? Maybe I can do this in the guest bathroom downstairs :)
(the link for this was broken, but I believe it's from etsy? If you know, please share!)

This quote is awesome.  Goes a lot with my love of If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough and Ever tried, ever failed.  No matter. Try again, fail again.  Fail better.

These are the types of shelves I want to have under my desk.  I want to line two side by side at each end & lay a large board on top.  Is that too homemade? Do you think it will look too tacky?  I'm gonna have a long desk......but I want to to be open & have storage.....I think this is a good solution.
JC Penny has always had my heart & their new Fair & Square advertising makes me even more happy. While I've noticed that their stores have gone down in inventory since the switch & they have a better selection online, that doesn't stop me from hitting the clearance rack.  Which is what I did with a gift card the other day.  I picked up a few good transition pieces from Winter to Spring & ones I know I'd wear from Summer into Fall next year.  That top above (found here) was one of my favorite finds.  $10 at that!
I have an idea for the bathroom I need to run by the other decorator in house: Succulents!  I really want to put a lot of greenery in the bathroom.  Is that weird?  We have a black & white theme going on that I think a bunch of greenery will add to.  I'm thinking really serene looking.  I'm also thinking fern like plants, too.  We've got dark green, marble like floors.  I really think it will look awesome! 
(again, no link! If you know where it's from please share!)

Link Love
++ This post on using Storenvy got a lot of feed back.  I thought I'd put together a list of the shops so you can check 'em out:
++ This story about the weeping angels in Doctor Who.  So creepy.  I tried to watch Blink the other day & I couldn't get but 5 minutes into the episode.  Them angels are scary! ++

++ I am anxiously waiting on a Vox Box from Influenster.  I've never gotten anything like it before!  Influenster is really neat & I need to get on there more to write reviews! ++

++ You know how I love me some Picmonkey, right? Well I found their blog yesterday & there is an awesome how-to on adding watermarks to your photos.  You don't  have to have all of this crazy equipment to take you're blog to the next level, Picmonkey is perfect! ++

Anyway, have a wonderful & safe weekend!

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Official Sponsor Call

Hey oh, guess what....February is almost over.  Can you believe it? This year is already flying by, much like last year.  But you know what?  There's no one I'd rather fly through time with except you (well, and maybe the Doctor).

February is when Five Sixteenths hit the 400 follower mark through GFC.  Five Sixteenths also gained more newsletter subscribers, twitter followers, instagram followers, & facebook likes!  After January, February was pretty awesome too!
Now here's the part where I tell you I want you.  I want you to be a part of Five Sixteenths in March.  There are 4 ad sizes to choose from & they are all pretty affordable.  The perks are awesome too: tweets about your happenings through the month, feature interviews, & inclusions in the Fan Friday posts.    And the Feature sponsor gets included in the monthly newsletter! March is going to be a pretty cool month & I'd love to share it with you!

Check out the advertising page for all the details & to reserve your spot.  Let me know if you have any questions, shoot me an email here.

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Just a Little Thank You

Hey there guys, I wanted to just stop for a moment & say thank you.  Before I get all mushy gushy, I just wanted to say that you all - readers, twitter followers, friends, anonymous internet people - you pick me up everyday with comments, views, etc.  It's because of you, your support of this blog, your purchase of ad space, or your interest in a vintage, handmade, or custom item that keeps me afloat.  On days when I feel down because of my lack of 'real' employment, you continue to make my dream of self-employment ever closer.

I love this little community of people so willing to offer up advice, friendship, & even time out of their day to chit chat on Twitter.  It really makes me thankful that there are so many people out there willing to just be there, willing to be more than a stranger.  It really warms my heart.

So I wanted just to say a little thank you today before I get to the many things I have to get done before the end of the week.  I just want you to know that I think about you & you aren't interacting with a stranger.  You are kind, and I appreciate you!  You make my creative life possible!  I mean it!

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Sponsor Interview // Rebecca of Lucky Rainbow Designs

Hey there Five Sixteenths readers, I've got a great person for you to meet today! If you haven't popped by the feature sponsor's blog this month (Lucky Rainbow Designs) then you totally should.  Full of positive inspiration & lots fo creativity.  Get to know Rebecca better through her interview below:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging as another creative outlet in which to connect with other creative people. I had  friends who were bloggers and I loved reading their blogs so it felt natural for me to give it a whirl! I'm also the kind of person who likes to try new things on a regular basis, meet new people whether its in person or online and generally a peek into other peoples lives, especially those living outside Ireland where I'm from and live.

2. What is your favorite part about blogging & the blogging community?
I love that you can post a question somewhere and that someone will go out of their way to assist you. I love how honest many bloggers can be about aspects of their lives, something which I would like to do more of, and I generally love finding a new blog, especially one with an incredible design. I suffer from blog design envy all the time! I also just love sharing aspects of my life - I try not to overshare, but anyone who knows me will tell you that usually within 5 minutes of meeting me, you know my life story!!

3. What is the hardest part about blogging?
For me, I would say its finding that work / life / time to blog balance. I also work a full time job which at certain times of the year is demanding so I really have to work hard at organizing my time, my blog posts and of course developing interesting content to read. I do worry that my posts are not that interesting and for this reason I've been moving my blog towards a crafty lifestyle blog as opposed to just all about crafts and craft tutorials etc.

Also, I sometimes struggle with the technical side of things! I did a small happy dance last week when I figured out a teeny tiny bit of blogger design coding. That was a great day!

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog?
Probably the 'Today I heart..' series which sees me search the internet for bits and pieces to drool over and also 'Positive Quotes' which according to the stats on my blog draws the biggest amount of readership. It seems there are ALOT of us out there searching for quotes to make our lives more inspiring or complete!

5. I see a lot of positive quotes on your blog! Is this where you find inspiration? 
I am the kind of person who 'likes' positive quotes, but I wouldn't say I live my life by them. I generally a half glass full person anyways, but sometimes you need some inspirational quotes to kick start your day or perhaps bring you back down to earth when you think you're life is experiencing some drama, when really it wasn't that important at all! As mentioned above, it draws alot of readers to my blog, and I often wonder are there are alot of sad and unhappy out there sitting at their keyboards looking for some inspiring words and that kinda makes me a little sad if I'm honest!

6. How did you get into card making?
When I was younger I found a box of cards that were given to me as a child over the years. My mum had saved them and i was intrigued that she kept them. She obviously felt they were important momentos to keep. I'm sorry to say I don't know where that box is now! BUT, I've always loved giving and receiving cards and the reason I got into card making was that in Ireland I felt there was a real gap for a quality handmade card that didn't cost the earth. I was coming accross very simple handmade - like cards which were selling for about €6 euro ($9 or $10!!) and I thought this was crazy! So way back in 2009, I made my first card for my friends wedding and everyone said "You really should make more of these!"

The funny thing is, even back in Art College, I had a name for my mini business. I also loved rainbows and found them to be particularly lucky, so hence LuckyRainbow was born.

7. Give us the best blogging advice you've ever received!
Be yourself and stop looking at others! Meaning, yes you will look at other blogs, their ka-zillion of followers, amazing images and house ready photos but know that it probably took them time and energy and years to create this and get to that particular space. Blogging is a process. If you look back at my original posts, you'll cringe at how back they are, but if you skip a few years, you'll see how my blog has developed and that happens for us all, so long as your willing to work hard at it!

8. Give us the best advice on life you've ever received
Oh so much! - For work related issues, the best piece of advice I received was "They're only complaining to you, not about you." - I was the person who used to cry if someone complained to me in work, but when someone, a former manager and still a friend today gave me the above advise, it changed my thinking...forever! I still dish that same piece of advice out to younger colleagues.

For life / everyday advice - I'll draw on a Dr Seuss quote "Those who matter, don't mind and those who mind, don't matter". As someone who turned 30 last year (gulp!), this advice is incredibly true. You will find that even though with age, more winkles appear, you also become more content and the bits of drama that ruled your life at 20, 21, 22 won't even cause you to blink at 29,30,31. (This is the part of being 30 that I love!)

(Now for the fun ones!)

9. What is your favorite fruit?
Strawberries! I even grew my own last year, they were perfect and delicious!
10. What is your favorite color to wear?
From Monday to Friday, I'm in a suit for work purposes, so at the weekend its my time. By that I mean I pull out every colorful item in my wardrobe and style it up! Its hard for me to chose just one colour, I'd say for evening attire, you can't beat a red dress, but during the day, you could meet me and I might perhaps might just look like a walking rainbow complete with a lush colour of lipstick! Told you I loved rainbows!

Please check out her blog, shop, & follower her on twitter!
If you'd like to be the feature sponsor next month, please check out the Advertising page.  The March Feature Spot is currently available & I'd love to have you!

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton

Trend Tuesday // About Damn Lime

Lime has to be one of my favorite scents.  I love the smell of fresh limes and sometimes I eat straight up limes as a snack!  I'm a total weirdo, I know but my sister does it too so at least I'm not a lone!  I cut up a lime for a little snack the other night & realized just how much I love the smell & thought about how I'm lacking in the lime scented body spray/lotion/soap/candle department.  My favorite combo has to be Coconut Lime Verbena from Bath & Bodyworks, which I hear is discontinued? I haven't been in a Bath & Bodyworks in ages :(  I have a full sized CLV spray & a travel bottle.  I can't get enough!

About Damn Lime

Lime is such a pretty scent by itself but I wanted to see what kind of citrusy combos I could find... especially if the CLV has been discontinued!  Scent combos always surprise me & what I found with lime was no exception:

Ginger & Lime? yes, please!  Lime & Lavender? yep! Lime, Basil, & Mandarin? Sounds interesting!  Is is weird that I want to know how lime & vanilla would taste? Of course in food & not the body butter!

Do you love the scent of citrus?  I just can't get enough!

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Make it Monday // Homemade Black Fettuccine Noodles

Zach & I have an annual tradition of making homemade pasta each Valentine's Day.  Last year we made three types of ravioli: cheese, sausage, & spinach and mushroom.  Each pasta was a different color: sausage = red, cheese = white, spinach = green. This year we wanted to do colored pasta again but try a fettuccine noodle this time, and try a twist to the coloring!  So today I am going to share with you how to color pasta black with cuttlefish ink. You read that right & it's really fun.
Start with a regular pasta recipe (we used a modified one from memory & looked to the book that came with our pasta machine for reference).  The general ingredients are flour, eggs, & water, you'll also need to pick up some cuttlefish ink.  You should be able to find this at any sort of international store or even if you have a amazing supermarket.  Zach found his online.
This was the first time we got to try using the mixer to make pasta & it was a bit of a challenge.  Last year we made piles of flour & egg on the table and I worked it together with my hands.  This year I really wanted to try the dough hook attachment on my mixer.  A place online suggested to start with the regular beater attachment to get the mixture going, then to switch to the dough hook.  That's what we did.
From last year we learned that sometimes you'll need more water & sometimes you'll need more flour.  As we started to mix the eggs, four, & water we also added two packets of the cuttlefish ink.  Now, I will worn you it smells a bit ...... fishy.  But don't worry! It won't be fishy when you get done, I promise!  Because we were a little bit inexperienced with the mixer we pulled the dough out a bit & worked it with our hands to get the ink distributed well.  The mixer takes a lot fo the kneading out but you'll still need to knead it a bit with your hands until it's the right consistency.
Here's where I took it out the first time to incorporate the ink. I threw it back in to knead some more
Our cart came in pretty handy when making the pasta! It was great extra counter space! At the end of it all you want the dough to not be sticky.  Your ball of dough should almost feel like play-dough on the dry side - it still sticks to itself, it's not flaky, but it's not sticking to your hands - it's just a nice little ball of dough.  This will take adding more water or more flour to the dough, but do it in increments so you don't end up adding too much.
Now you're ready to let your dough sit for 30 minutes.  Throw a towel over it & just let it be.  Now is the time to clean up your mixing bowl, but don't put your flour away.  You'll need it to help running the pasta through the pasta maker.
Start by cutting off chunks from your dough ball about an inch in width.  Begin running through your pasta maker on the largest setting.  You'll need to add flour if it starts sticking, fold it over, run it through again.  You want it to become a consistent sheet of dough before moving down to the next notch  Keep going, making a consistent sheet of dough before moving down in size.  We ran our pasta dough until it reached the 7 notch.  Then threw flour on both sides & ran it through the fettuccine attachement.  Let me tell you, it's much better to have a friend doing this with you!  Your sheet of dough will be long & you may need a friend to catch and organize the pasta strings.
Since our dryer is out (we just had the new one delivered, but it's not hooked up yet..can't wait!) we've been using drying racks for our clothes.  These drying racks did double duty as a place to hang the pasta!  I am not quite sure what we would have done if we didn't have these, so a place to hang your fresh pasta is important!
Now prepare your meal as normal.  Since your pasta is fresh, it won't take any time to boil up so watch it & make sure it doesn't overcook.  Zach made up some scallops & shrimp, added some asparagus and we put Alfredo sauce over the noodles.  It was an amazing dinner.  You may want to have a few friends over because you'll end up with a lot of pasta, we'll have leftovers for a bit.
So there you have it! Homemade pasta dyed with cuttlefish ink!  It turns out really pretty.  Homemade pasta is very fun to make.  You can make it yourself, but it's fun to do with a friend.  I think it's really a team work sort of thing because you have to work together when the sheet of pasta gets too long for you!   Cooking together is one of my favorite things.  I'm so glad I have a great cook to work with!

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Shop Update Time

I promise this post isn't going to be all about selling you things.  The broader message of this post is that this past week I've been very happy because over the course of a few days we had multiple sales, in multiple shops.  I was so happy to keep getting email after email, after notification of sales!  Both Zach & I are extremely happy about the success of the Vintage shop and really hope we can continue to create a wonderful shop curated by story telling.  We've actually been thinking a lot about where we want to go with this in the future.  Personally I can't wait to get the studio set up, seriously, we've been so close to completing the house for weeks.  It's just one more thing here & one more thing there.  I think we'll spend our first year in this house still putting it together!

I am so thankful for every little sale that comes with this little adventure of ours.  We've been putting together spreadsheet after spreadsheet (my preferred method after good old pen & paper!) tracking everything.  I'm so excited!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you some fun things that are new in the shops:

This is a pretty & feminine minimal design with a fun cursive header!  Images automatically resize to fit the full width of the posting area & the side bar and nav bar have a pearly pink accent.
I love the sans serif/cursive mix.  I'm really in love with Trebuchet right now for some reason & all the new designs feature it I think!

Minimal Minnie was designed with the Briar.Wood design in mind.  The Briar.Wood design has been the most popular design in the shop!  Another take on that sort of style is Minimal Minnie.  It has a handwritten blog header with mauve accents.

Big, Bad, & Bold features a bold & skinny sans serif font for the blog header, post title, & sidebar gadgets.  The navigation bar is in mint with white text.

All of these new designs can be customized with a load of upgrades in the shop but these are also included in the Mix & Match Custom Upgrade package.  Add on three upgrades to any premium template for only $80!  A totally custom look off of a premade design! Check out this post to see how it works. 

Along with customizable 2013 Tote Bags, a few different styles of Graduation Announcements in a bunch of color combos have been added.  The stationery shop has continued to surprise me.  I've been putting a lot into it & have been getting a bit of a return! It's so fun!
There are a ton of Spring time birth announcements in tartan, stripes, solid colors, & florals.  There are going to be more & more hitting the shop soon!

We found the pitcher separate from the glasses but on the same day.  It was such a surprise how awesome they complimented each other! The pitcher has a waffle pattern while the glasses have a circle pattern.  A great geometric mix.  Perfect for summer gatherings & in great vintage condition.
There are a few more new things in the vintage shop, but this has to be the prettiest!  I also think that my camera charger is still in the apartment at Zach's parents' house.  I can't find it anywhere but it could be in the crazy mess that is our house!

That was a lot of stuff!  Can you tell we've been working our butts off?  I'm telling you though, I can't wait for March! Heck, I can't even wait for the rest of the month!  I'm using too many exclamation marks!

If you made it to the end of this post, I want to offer you some coupon codes for the two of the many, many shops :)

Use HEYTHEREHITHERE for 10% off a blog design purchase - that is anything! A custom design, the Mix & Match Package, a premade template, anything!

Use PREZWKNDSALE for 15% off everything in the Stationery Shop - everything!

There you have it, a very long winded (but very much needed) shop update post!

Enjoy your weekend!

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Fan Friday #89

Happy Friday all!  This week was a busy week, I feel like I got a lot done & I'm very proud of myself! Shops were updated, baseboards were painted, jobs were applied for, & progress was made.  However, I'm dreadfully ashamed of the way the house looks!  We'll end up spending a good chunk of Sunday cleaning things up!  Have a happy weekend everyone.

Here's what I'm loving this week:

I'm sharing this & if you steal it........I'm never talking to you again....but if this isn't my wedding I don't know what I'll do!

This Mushroom Tofu Marsala recipe looks so yummy! I don't think Zach is too into tofu, but man I love it!  In case you missed it, our kitchen essentials post went up this week & this weekend we're undertaking pasta making!

The vintage shop got a little bit of an update this week & these fun owl guys were added.  As soon as I saw them, I knew we needed to have them!  They remind me of the grumpy cat meme.

This Yankee Candle is currently my favorite scent.  Our bedroom is black, white, & a deep purple so I'm always on the look out for candles to match but I always dislike the scent of purple candles.  These black ones, named After Dark, smell so good! They kinda smell like cologne and by kinda, I mean they smell like a sexy man but in a way that makes your house smell nice too.  I bought this scent, then took a hiatus with a pink floral scent - which I didn't like - so I came back to these! 

I also just bought my bridesmaid's dress for a friends wedding.  I'm not sure what the shoe requirement will be but these beautiful heels from Modcloth in the color Hibiscus might compliment my Tangerine dress nicely.

Link Love
++ If you want to just die over cuteness, watch this older dog help this puppy learn to go down the stairs.  I died over it! ++

++ If you're thinking of learning something new, Craftsy is full of online classes in nearly anything you can think of! They are also having a Valentine's Day sale where classes are 75% off! Isn't that awesome!  Go sign up here to learn a few new things! (Sale ends on Feb 17, 2013) ++

++ Learn more about feature Sponsor Rebecca of Lucky Rainbow Designs in her 25 Random Facts post ++

++ After joining in on the Fat B eCourse over on the Nearsighted Owl, I've become more aware of how people perceive others.  Maybe I was in the dark before, but this course & this link shared by Kaelah of LCH have really opened my eyes.  You're in for an amazing photography project all about people's perceptions. ++

++ Speaking of the Fat B eCourse, I can so relate to this article. ++

++ February sponsor Kat of Unbecoming got a nifty little blog make over from the Five Sixteenths Design shop.  She chose the custom upgrade option & we upgraded the circus template with custom colors, a blog button, & a welcome image.  I'll be sharing more about the design over on the STUDIO blog soon, but this has to be my favorite upgrade option! ++

++ This got a million (maybe not really a million) pins when I re-pinned it the other day.  It is an awesome invention...we may need one for traveling! ++

++ Shocking coral is one of my favorite lipsticks from the Maybelline Vivids Collection!  I'm also loving Hot Plum. ++

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Steps for Lipstick Ready Lips

So, a while ago, I mentioned I'm doing this little thing called the Fat B eCourse.  It's been really great to find a group of others so excited to embrace who they are & work together to create a positive vibe about body image.  I'm still hung up on the first week's assignment: 5 things that make you happy.  One of my happy things was wearing bold lipstick.  Last week Zach & I were traveling around so I didn't get to really work on my list but this week I've made it a goal to do all the things on the list this week!  So far I've gotten up an put myself together quite a few times!

A big part of my morning routine is choosing between the 8 of the 10 shades of lipstick I have belonging to the Maybelline Vivids Collection.
6 of the 8 colors I own!
I've been playing around with the colors and love them! They have the staying power of regular lipstick, sometimes you have to reapply, but most of the colors leave a little bit of a stain on your lip.  My favorite of the 8 I have is Shocking Coral.  It's not as orange as I thought it'd be, more of a coral pink color.  I also want to play around with the pale baby pink.  In the below photo I'm wearing Hot Plum.  These colors really get me feeling pin up like!
While playing around with these colors, there are a few things I realized I needed to do to my lips in order to keep them lipstick ready all the time.  As with a lot of people, the winter takes a toll on my lips.  Once they start to be dry or chapped I start biting them & messing with them to peel the dead skin off.  That instantly makes it worse!  I try to keep chapstick in my nightstand drawer, purse, & make up bag to stave off this dryness.  This has helped a lot to keep my lips in tip top shape for lipstick!  Here are my 3 steps for lipstick ready lips:

The Night Before:
I apply the blue labeled ChapStick Moisturizer before bed.  This is my favorite type of ChapStick. It's so moisturizing which is great in the winter & has a sunscreen which is good for the summer.  I prefer this to the black labeled ChapStick (though I do use it) because it feels less sticky.

Occasional Lip Exfoliation:
I've seen all these crazy (but probably really awesome) lip scrubs all over the place, mainly on pinterest.  Because I don't really want to whip up a giant batch of this stuff, I just took some of the main ingredients - my favorite brown sugar & honey - and put together a tiny batch in a little bowl.  If I've been good with my ChapStick application, I usually don't need to do this so it's just a little extra exfoliation if I need it.

While Getting Ready:
While taking my curlers out in the morning our putting on my make up - saving lipstick for last - I put a quick coat of the blue label ChapStick that I have in my make up bag.  I do this in advance so I'm not putting lipstick right on top of a glossy surface.  I feel like it sort of seals in the moisture & sets while I do my other make up/hair.  I also have a bit of time at the end because I can't ever decide which lip color to wear!

Then I apply!  Smooth lips makes lipstick look so much better. In December I bought red lipstick & was terrified to wear it!  I put it on, wore it around the house, & got used to seeing myself in it.  Doing this made it seem less weird.  When I fell in love with it I really wanted new colors but again, was really scared!  So, when I did what everyone else does when they are unsure - go big or go home!  When the homework challenge came for the Fat B eCourse I knew it was a chance to break out & try more lip color!

I'm so happy that I've fallen in love with lipstick!  The Vivids collection gives you a lot to play with & a wide variety.  It's a great way to build your collection up fast.

Do you have any go to colors?  I'm always on the look out for more!

xoxo, Moe

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton


Wednesday Decor // Our Favorite Kitchen Accessories

So, I have a confession.....I think I'm becoming domestic.  Prior to meeting Zach, I could have cared less if we had a pasta maker, mixer, or the right kind of knives.  All I cared about was a blender for mixed drinks in college.  Mom called me out on it when she bought me one for my birthday, yeah mom, you were right.  Recently I saw a post on A Beautiful Mess where Emma shared her kitchen essentials.  Great minds must think alike!
Since moving in with someone who cooks up a storm & who's always creating new things, I'm now falling in love with kitchen gadgets! I'm going to try to share more recipe type posts here on the blog & have been thinking about what gadgets we consider essential to our kitchen.  Some of these are simple & some are more complex but all of them we use multiple times a week.  Most of them keep cooking simple & all of them make cooking fun.  Since we're gearing up for our annual pasta making Valentine's Day tradition, I thought I'd share our kitchen gadgets:
We have a lot of counter space in our house.  It's so great because we are able to have everything at our finger tips.  Things aren't hiding in cabinets & being forgotten about.  We also don't have that much pantry space.  In fact we don't even have a pantry, just two big cabinet we keep food in. We use this counter space to our advantage & love having two sets of canisters - one vintage set & one new set - on either side of the stove.  We have the clear glass canisters above with flous, sugar, brown sugar, & powdered sugar.  Each has a scoop & are right at our finger tips.  The other set contains different kinds of pastas for easy access. (here are our sizes: biggest, big, smaller, smallest!)

Santa was extremely, extremely good to me this year & brought me a load of useful things for the new house.  Like this mixer.  After not having a way to make meringue for the pies at Thanksgiving I am now able to whip up anything I want!  I've used it to quickly mix up brownies, but can't wait to use it more to make bread, cakes, whipped cream, & meringue!

Recently Zach brought a little cart from his parent's house for our kitchen.  When both of us are in the kitchen cooking together, it can get a little crowded & the cart helps for a little more space to chop with out elbows running into each other.  Plus it's going to be great for our annual Valentine's Day pasta making from scratch.  Because it's on wheels it moves around our kitchen with ease.

I have to say I never really cared for toaster ovens.  All I ever needed to do was make toast & toaster ovens were a bit too much for that....all those dials.  Zach has showed me the error of my ways....you can make so much stuff in a toaster oven!!  I turn to the toaster oven more & more for quick meals.  I make hot sandwiches, toast, crescent rolls, & anything that might require preheating the oven.

Tongs are just great utensils to have.  Pick things up, turn things over, grab hot toaster oven pans, toss things around...they are pretty handy.

We have a pretty stocked wine rack & as simple as it is (and so unoriginal) this type of wine opener is the easiest to use.  Very little work for an awesome return - a glass of wine of course!  Our wine glasses are from the Williamsburg Winery from our wine tasting from last spring.  I'm just now developing a taste for wine & one of my favorites is a white table wine called Winter White from Leelanau Cellars.  We've only been able to find it up north though!  I'm looking forward to expanding my wine taste & trying new things.

If you don't have a crock pot or haven't ever used one I highly suggest getting one.  I love that you can prepare a meal in the morning, have it cook all day, then have a delicious, home made meal waiting for you around dinner time.  You can even prepare the meal at night, put it in the fridget, then pull it out in the morning & turn on the crock pot.  There are tons of crock pot recipes I really want to try but Zach is so creative he comes up with wonderful meals on his own.

For obvious reasons, mixing bowls are on the list.  We have a variety of sizes & smaller prep bowls.  These are great for mixing batters, marinades, dressings, etc.  I've recently found a recipe for bread baked in a big glass bowl & can't wait to put my mixer to use on that one!

Somehow this didn't make it into the picture! Zach wanted one for Christmas & this is the one I got for him.  We haven't used it yet, we'll get to it this Saturday.  Making your own pasta is fun so I'm glad we have this litte accessory to help us out!

We have steak knives but we've been on the hunt for good kitchen knives.  This is something Zach's been looking for.  We have one good paring knife but our bigger knives just don't cut it (pun intended!)

Zach loves soup! So we're still on the hunt for a stock pot to make oodles of soup in.  Oodles, I tell you, oodles!

* * * *

Well, there you have it.....all our favorite kitchen essentials.  You wouldn't guess what's happened though: our new microwave just went out!  I'm going to call or take it to Sears to see what they say about the warranty.  I have found the paperwork that was with it, so here's hoping!

What are your kitchen essentials? Do you cook a lot?

Connect on Twitter // Follow on Pinterest // Peep me at Hello Cotton