Sunday, November 27, 2011

Semi-Homemade Aurora Crown

My child so badly wants to be a princess some days.  Today was one of those days.  We have princess decals in her room and she always points to either Belle or Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) and says - When I grow up, I'm going to have that hair, and that dress, and hold that thing (a fan) and have a crown like that and be a princess.  It is perhaps the cutest thing ever, since the most recent thing my children did that was the cutest thing ever, like 5 seconds before that.  So today we indulged her a little and made a crown!  And okay, we were both a little bored.... 4 days at home!  A pleasure, and a challenge!  So I googled "aurora crown" and we found this simply adorable pattern.  However, we didn't have craft foam or jewels.... so, enter tin foil!  Here's what we did:  1) Trace the template in the pattern on card board.  Cut out!  2)  Cover it with glue and wrap with tin foil ("silver" as Big Sister called it) 3)  Find a head band that she never wears and glue the 'silver crown' to it, held in place with clothes pins for ~30 minutes 4) In the mean time, make 4 "jewels" by covering diamond (or whatever) shaped pieces of cardboard with tin foil.  Crayons worked okay for giving the 'jewels' a hint of color.   5)  Glue the 'jewels' on the 'crown' in your desired pattern.
Presto create-o!  An aurora crown that Big Sister has worn all day!  And we didn't have to purchase a single thing or make a trip to the craft store!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A My Memories Calendar? Priceless!

SPOILER ALERT:  I made a calendar for a family member for Christmas using the new My Memories Version 3 software.  Yep - they've upgraded and the software has some very cool new features!  One of my favorites so far is the ability to easily make a calendar using either pre-designed scrapbook templates (you get a very nice selection with high-quality looking papers and designs) or templates you design yourself!  You can choose either the standard 12x12 scrapbook page size OR a normal sized 8-1/2 by 11 paper size.  This is SO much easier with Version 3 than the previous version.  
An example of what I did for my calendar is posted to the left.  In total, for a 1-year calendar you will need 26 pages:  You create a cover, each of the designed/ photo pages (which you can actually pre-load with pictures you select into a separate file), each of the calendar pages, and a back cover.  You'll need to 'map it out' to make sure you have the order right, and the number of pages depending on the months you want.  For a 2012 calendar, it cost me $17.99 plug shipping. 

You too can make a calendar like this!  The software is normally $39.95 but you can use my special discount code to get $10 off plus a $10 coupon to use on the online store.  The code to get the discount is STMMMS40533 on the My Memories Suite webpage.  Have fun!  I sure did!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

This has been rolling around in my head for a while so I'm going to lean my head to the side, shake it really good, and let it drop out and clink onto my blog page.

Pretty is as pretty does is perhaps one of the worst phrases ever.  It is a double edged sword.  It has popped up through the years in my life in various contexts, and a few weeks ago, I caught myself actually thinking it with respect to my daughter.  Is this a phrase I would want to use with her?  What does it really mean?

I would love your input on this, dear reader.  Have you ever heard this phrase before?  What does it mean to you?  Is it just us Southern-raised girls who hear this?  Is it an American thing?  Where did it come from?  Perhaps I shall ask Google.  Results: The free dictionary says "Pretty is as pretty does.  (old-fashioned)
something that you say which means that you should judge people by the way they behave, not by their appearance 'She's very pretty.' 'Yes, but pretty is as pretty does. I haven't been terribly impressed by her manners.'"  Something else links it to a windbag-sounding British book from 1853.  Oh geeze.
At any rate, I think it's a deceptive phrase that on its face is simple and well-meaning.  Somebody, however, first said it to me when I was quite young and feeling quite non-pretty.  Around puberty, I guess.  It stuck in my head like glue.  I chewed on it like gum.  You never know what phrases are going to do that, but this one did.  To me it said - "We don't really know if you're going to turn out nice-looking, but if you act nice to people they might think you're pretty so be as nice as you can!"  Not that this phrase had so much power over me, but I do find myself caught in that "look nice and be nice" circle that I think many women find themselves in.  This leads to me second-guessing actions and decisions that I think may come across as "rude" or "impolite."  This leads to me (and women in general) apologizing too much.  This leads to women getting paid less than men for the same job.  This leads to all sorts of similar crap that I believe, at the very heart, is caused by society telling women to be 'pretty,' 'nice' and 'polite.' 
I imagine it has this affect no matter how attractive the girl/woman actually is to whom it is said.  If I thought I was pretty and somebody said that to me, I would surely think, "They must think I'm not very nice."  Ultimately, this tiny phrase just makes women self-conscious about constantly trying to look and act pretty. Look pretty, act pretty, a combination of both...  it's such a vicious, pointless cycle.  And the word 'pretty' - which I've used so many times in this entry already that it looks and sounds weird - it's a nonsense word.  Pretty.  What does it mean?  It's a horrible word that at its heart means --- "Constantly care what others think about you - how you look and how you act."
I will try to never use this with my daughter.  Some iteration may slip out....  and so I'd like to propose that the iteration be, "Be true to yourself and kind to others.  Beyond that, don't care what people think of how you look or you act."   And by "iteration" I mean, scrap it altogether, burn it and tell girls things whose clear intention is to empower them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Lost Kardashian Sister

Warning:  This is what you get folks when it's been several weeks with no bloggy, and I'm home on a Thursday afternoon by myself and my remote access to the work server is down.  Warning over.

So I know you've all been dying to know - What are my Style secrets?  Every time I leaf through a magazine to read some celeb's favorites list, I can totally relate to everything on the page.  After all, I am The Ultimate It Mom.  It is so apparent that my middle name is Style (and you just thought the E stood for Elizabeth, or maybe you were confused by the Beth - it's all a ploy to keep you guessing just like Madonna).  In fact, when I read people's minds, I hear them think - "Is she the lost Kardashian sister?  She's got the Style, but I'm confused by the Master's degrees and correct grammar.  And Style would be a really cool unique celeb baby name." 

Well, guess no longer.  I'm going to give you my Favorites List so you too can be The Ultimate It Mom like me. 

Victoria Secret 5 for $26 panties. I might give up a non important body party for these panties, they are so great.  They used to be 5 for $25 so you can see it's been a while since I bought some.  Great colors, perfect fit, no riding in the wrong places and they make my Kim Kardashian-esque butt look kind of cute if I do say so myself.
Gap 1969 Curvy Jeans  They are a little steep at $69 but I bought them with a Groupon over a year ago and they are always my go-to jeans.  I shed a small tear when I want to wear them and they are past the dirty threshold.  I would spend $69 today for a new pair if I had $69.  Thus, my ongoing comparison of myself to Kim Kardashian is losing some footing.        
Basically anything from The Body Shop but I especially love their shower gel and carrot moisture cream.  Somehow I have ended up with about 5 containers of this stuff, they have great sales around the holidays and I stock up!  Great for hands, face, feet, body ---  LOVE.  Here I must mention I don't really even really  know who the Kardashians are.

I just discovered Neutrogena Naturals and am really loving the Fresh Cleansing + Makeup remover and matching moisturizer (Walgreens fake brand).  Great for It Moms like Me because it is a multi-tasker.  It and I have a lot in common, actually.  I'm good at removing makeup from my children and I multi-task.

So I have curly hair and it is unruly.  My comparison with the Kardashians is, I believe, shattered.  I am really a mess and pretty much all-around fashion faux-pas and my style choices are based on 1) practicality, 2) trying to look unique kind of like Blossom or Clarissa Explains it All (I am sooooo dating myself) and 3) avoiding looking tired or like I'm wearing food.  Still - like you, dear reader, I am an It Mom and these products make It Work and I Love Paul Mitchell's sculpting cream because it makes my curly hair look like it's supposed to be that way.  It creates the illusion of time and effort.  I Love fashion Illusions!

Finally, I love Scentsy not only because I sell it, but because it smells so good and creates the illusions of lack of negative odors in our house.  I'm not saying our house smells bad, but it smells soooo much better with Scentsy.  

I also love my go-to mommy purse that my dear friend Alicia gave me.  I love my Coach purses, but there's something about a big professional looking bag that you can throw a lot of junk in and still look nice can't be beat.  I don't have a picture of it, but here's a nice one on clearance at JC Penney that I like - and the price is right at $23.99.  Eat THAT Kim Kardashian!