Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

If you've been following my twitter feed (if you don't, and have a wish to hear super random thoughts on life, I'm @keshetstarr), you know I've been cooking a lot this week.

Why all the cooking, you may ask?

This Wednesday is Rosh Hashana--the Jewish New Year! Also the Jewish equivalent of a triathlon cooking-wise. Instead of cooking one or two Thanksgiving-sized meals, I'm cooking five. Luckily, I like to cook:) Oh, and I have a very helpful hubby!

There are so many fun details about Rosh Hashana I could tell you about! Since it's the new year (we like to get it started in September instead of January, according to the Jewish calendar), it's a custom to have sweet foods for a "sweet year." That means apples and honey (the classic), challah and honey (best thing EVER. trust me), and lots of sweet foods. And extra dessert, naturally. Another custom is to have a food you haven't eaten all year, so you can make a special blessing on it. So my fruit bowl is now filled with pomegranates, starfruit, and some strange fruit that look like sweet potatoes but have horns on them? That was S's pick, if you're wondering.

The customs are all really fun, but the real point of Rosh Hashana is that in Judaism, we believe it's the time where G-d makes major decisions for the future year and judges us on our actions. It's sort of like a "tax day for the soul" where we stop and think about who we are, where we're going, and what we need to work on. I find that for myself, it's so easy to think that I'm doing enough. I'm nice enough, I give enough charity, I think of other people enough. But in reality, the good things I may do don't erase the many mistakes I've made or areas I need to grow in. And even if I'm not failing horribly at something (like speaking nicely to telemarketers, for example--ahem), there's always room to grow.

I don't want to just do enough. I want to do my best. Especially now that I'm going to have a little person to raise soon, G-d willing, I want to pay close attention to the areas of myself that need work, and get cracking.

And on a less serious note, it wouldn't be a holiday post without a Maccabeats video!


What's one thing YOU want to work on this year?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elle's Studio September!

I'm coming to you today from total crazy-land. In the next three days, I'm planning to bake six loaves of challah, six desserts, and five (big) meals worth of food. It does appeal to my love of organization, but still--phew! Rosh Hashana is one of my favorite holidays though, and I can't wait to tell you all about it in a few days:)

In the meantime, I have my Elle's Studio September projects to show you!

I love creating little bitty tags for my galleries because they work so well with the beautiful details on Elle's products.

Now I'm all ready for a birthday party:)

This next layout is an ode to my new favorite spot on the island of Manhattan (well, second favorite--I have to tell you about my actual favorite one soon!)--16 Handles.

If you're not familiar with 16 Handles, go to the Upper West Side immediately. If that isn't possible, just imagine this: 16 pumps of delicious frozen yogurt in flavors from chocolate to pomegranate, and every topping under the sun. Add to this the fact that every single topping is kosher (including the gummy bears, which are never ever kosher--trust me on this) and I'm pretty much in heaven there:)

I combined a June Studio Calico kit with Elle's tags and some alphas from my stash for this one!

My last layout for September is probably my favorite, because it documents a story that makes me smile whenever I think of it.

The journaling reads: At your 12 week ultrasound, I first got to see your little personality. You were fast asleep in the beginning, and no amount of coughing, turning or pushing woke you up. It took a full 40 minutes until you woke up! It looks like you inherited your mommy's penchant for sleeping very deeply. After that you didn't want to turn around and get in the right position, so I wound up with an hour-long appointment! The technician commented that you seemed like quite the stubborn baby. I didn't think it was possible at that moment to love you more, but I did. Can't wait to meet you in a few months, my little stubborn sleepyhead! Love, Mommy.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of being able to sign letters as "Mommy," especially after all of the waiting and wondering along the way:)

Since I didn't want to paste the card with the ultrasound to the actual layout, I created a pocket out of a spare page protecter and sewed the pocket to the page. I hope to do this a lot with baby memorabilia!

Make sure you check out the Inspiration Gallery to see the beautiful layouts the other gals whipped up! Susan Weinroth is the guest designer this month, and her layouts are so much fun!

And since I can use some cooking company these days--what are YOU cooking up this week?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Designing!


Hello everyone!

This has been one cah-razy week (I could tell you why, but then I might just relive all the craziness, and I'd like to keep my hair attached to my head) so my grand blogging plans sort of disappeared.

But either way I'm happy to share that I'm the September guest designer for the Midnight Rooster kit club! The September kit is full of fun, handmade details and great embellishments. I'm going to share half of my layouts today and more very shortly!

For my first layout, I was so excited to use this photo--it's always nice when a photo comes out bearing some resemblance to what you had in mind. Which doesn't seem to happen as often as it should!



This layout made me realize that I *need* an inky black mist to splatter. Any suggestions?

The journaling reads: I fell in love with this vintage camera at COSI in Columbus. Unfortunately, it wasn't for sale!

My next layout gave me the chance to break out my wedding photos, which I love (thank to Jerry Meyer Studios for the photography).

I adore the Crate Paper Portrait buttons. Portrait is the first wedding line in years I've really had fun using.

And how fun are those woodgrain letters?

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

In other news, I'm now 19 weeks, and started to feel some wiggling from the bunny--so exciting!

Tell me, what's the craziest/best thing that's happened to YOU this week?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vacation Fun....and a Winner!


A few weeks ago, S and I hit up Florida (Key West and Miami) for a little babymoon. The trip was busy and fun and involved lots of (a) sun, (b) beach, (c ) good food, and (d) fun memories together. So all in all, a success:)

As you can see, we were pretty pumped in the airport heading off on our adventure:


Key West was full of little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and sweet shops, and I loved wandering up and down Duval street and checking them out!


These weren't kosher, so I didn't sample them, but they did look delicious. . . .

And is this not the cutest little store you've ever seen? (This photo is also an excellent example of why you need to change your ISO when you go outside. Oops!)


At night, we headed out to Mallory Square to watch the sunset and all of the random fire-juggling acts. One guy was juggling fiery torches while on a unicycle very close to the dock's edge. Which made me quite nervous on his behalf. I could barely enjoy the show!

Even though this photo is kind of messed up, it does illustrate the motion and craziness of Mallory Square, which I love!


The ocean and sailboats in Key West were just beautiful....


And even though it was a different view, I also loved the high-risers and palm trees in Miami.

On one of our last days, we decided to do a tour of the Everglades. The alligators were pretty agreeable (apparently, it's the crocodiles that eat people. Like in Peter Pan), but some of the other travelers on our airboat? A bit of a different story. Not that it wasn't entertaining.


And last but not least, we have a winner for the My Memories giveaway! The random.org number was 3, so the winner is:

CONNIE!

Connie said...

pretty cool

How's that for a smooth transition? Ha!

Now that our vacation is over and I need to carry a cardigan in my purse, fall is officially here. What are YOU most excited for this season?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Your Heart Out



I love this post on Stephanie's blog and decided to play along, even though I'm a bit late in the day. (Don't be alarmed by the 2 post thing--don't see it happening THAT often, ha!)

1. I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Now, I am a strictly "8 hours of uninterrrupted sleep a night" kind of gal. And while I realized that was not going to happen once Bunny comes along, I did not realize it would start with pregnancy! After several days of trying to manage work, job interviews, catch-up from vacation, and running the house on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I'm a little cranky. And then I feel guilty for being cranky, as if the fact that I wanted this baby so badly means I never get to feel the side effects of pregnancy. But I think, deep down, I do feel guilty, I do feel that I want this so much, I should love the fact that I'm tossing and turning all night and edging S out of the bed with my ginormous body pillow. So the cycle continues....


2. I tend to get stressed about getting things done that don't really matter all that much. Like going through my enormous pile of post-its accumulated over the past few weeks. Or organizing my Things list. Or cleaning my bathtub (although maybe that really does matter, ha!) I wish I could spend more time on the long-lasting things in life and less time just trying to get from day to day.


3. I haven't even had the kid, and I already worry about how I will balance pursuing my own dreams and being the mother I want to be. Jury's out on this one, and probably will be for a while.


4. I wish S was home for dinner more the past few weeks. But I'm so grateful for his job at the same time.


5. I wish I had more confidence in myself. That has been the single most present battle in my life.


6. I wish I wasn't always so worried about something happening to this baby.

7. I am so amazed and grateful to be 18 weeks today. If not for the belly, I really wouldn't believe it. Sometimes I think about how I would have felt if I could see a photo of myself today a year ago, and how much peace it would have brought me. Today is a good day.

So there's my reality today. If you did a post like this, please link me--I'd love to see.

Scarlet Lime!

So, can we discuss how it's suddenly mid SEPTEMBER?? Last I checked, August had just started. Sigh.

This confusion does, however, explain why I have yet to share my Scarlet Lime layouts with the August kit!

The main kit (still available!) is chock full of fun new Amy Tan products, especially my favorite thickers from the release--woohoo!


This layout is fairly self-explanatory. I like cinnamon buns.

I've been really into vertical punched borders lately, so I broke some out for this layout. (How cute is the orange camera sticker? I have to be careful not to hoard the fun embellishments in this kit!)

And a close-up.....

The Frugal Fab kit has some brand-new Pebbles goodies in it, and I loved the mellow, summery colors. (You can buy the kit right here.)

Apparently, I was hungry while working on my DT layouts, because I"m starting to notice a theme here:)

And last but not least, I whipped up this layout to record a really fun day at COSI (a science museum in Ohio--anyone been?) with my sister.

I loved the pink woodgrain Pebbles paper so much, I was afraid to use it, but thankfully I got over that fear:) The Basic Grey rub-on pack added some spark and whimsy!

Phew! A little late on these, but hopefully all of you nice blog friends will forgive me:)

We just got back from our Florida vacation, which was fantastic, and I'm slowly digging myself out of a very tall pile of emails and post-its. In case we haven't discussed this before, by the way, I have an unhealthy obsession with post-its. I buy them in megapacks and probably use at least 10 a day. As a conservative estimate.

I should probably work on that habit one of these days. I'll write myself a note;)

Are YOU as neurotic as I am with notes? Or am I just crazy?

PS--You can still enter the giveaway in the post below! I'll choose a winner Thursday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's a GIVEAWAY!


Hello, bloggy friends! As you read this, I will be enjoying sunny Florida, and hopefully not getting caught in a hurricane. But while I'm out, I preposted several posts for y'all this week, including this fun giveaway!

The nice folks over at My Memories contacted me to offer a free software giveaway to one of my readers!


While I'm not a digital scrapper myself, I hear the product is easy to use, and I'm in love with the layouts scrapbooks star Megan Klauer created with the software!
And that's not all--aside from the lucky winner, EVERYONE can receive a $10 discount for the My Memories Suite Software and a $10 off discount for the My Memories store with the code STMMMS95349. If you'd like to make a purchase, follow this link to the My Memories Suite Software and store.

To ENTER (the giveaway), please go to My Memories.com and tell me one layout or product pack you love! Also, if you want to be nice to me, *please* leave contact information. It makes me very happy when leave me contact information:)

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Write Click Scrapbook September!

It's time for a new gallery over at Write Click Scrapbook!

The theme this month was near and dear to my heart--BOOKS!

I used a Studio Calico kit for this one, which is a good thing, because they have been piling up like no other! The combination of travel + baby sleepiness has really done me in this summer. But I've been making slow and steady progress on the kit front:)

The journaling on this layout reads:

I have always loved books, and still do. I love reading a mix of book types and genres—from fiction to social commentary to history to biography to mystery to historical fiction to chick lit. I often feel so happy and myself when wandering through a library or bookstore from section to section. Truly, I love it all.
Here's a little close-up for ya too:

I broke out my beloved Martha Stewart 3-in-1 butterfly punch for this, as well as my new Dewey Mr. Huey (try saying THAT five times fast), which has become my new most favorite mist ever.

Check out the rest of the month's gallery HERE!

Do you like to read? What's YOUR favorite book?

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Heart....JA

I don't think I've discussed this nearly enough on my blog, but I really REALLY heart Jane Austen novels, especially Pride and Prejudice. Persuasion is a close second (if you haven't read, you really need to--it's one of the most transformative, sweet stories I've ever read) but nothing beats the good 'ol classic P & P.

My favorite version is, of course, the classic one with Colin Firth:)

The Kiera Knightley one isn't too bad, but I think the problem is that it misses the humor in the story. I'm not really laughing in that film, and laughing is a big part of the Pride and Prejudice experience for me.

I'm also deeply in love with an old black and white version of P & P featuring Laurence Olivier.


It has a wonderful, elegant, old Hollywood charm to it. Check it out, you won't regret it:)


And to add a fun twist, this is a great adaptation of the story set in India:

I love Indian movies and I obviously love Jane Austen, so when my friend Kathleen saw a trailer for this film, she said "it's like someone went in your head and made a movie!" So true. The Bollywood feel can be a little much if you're not used to it (think 400 people in matching outfits suddenly breaking into song and dance in the middle of a supermarket scene), but the story is wonderful and translates well!

So there you have it--some gut-spilling from a Pride & Prejudice fanatic.

Are YOU a Jane Austen fan, too? Come on, don't be shy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Major Scraproom Reorganization of 2011!

As I mentioned earlier, about a month ago I did a HUGE reorganization of my scrappy stuff. Things were not good in the 'ol scraproom--I would literally dread going into a certain bin because it was such a mess. I had just about all of my embellishments in two little bins, and needless to say, it wasn't cutting it.

So without further ado.........

my "brand new" scraproom:


I changed the way I organize many of supplies. In the past month, I have been pretty much loving the changes I made!

First, the stamp bin:


I keep most of my stamps in the bin loosely organized by type (alphabet, background, etc), but I took all of the little stamps that were getting lost and put them in a plastic bag. I made a little cheat sheet so that I wouldn't forget them:

Next, I cleared a LOT of little punched bits and other stuff from my cake plate, and reorganized it into something that serves as both storage and inspiration.

I now keep my washi tape collection on the cake plate--it looks pretty, and they're right at my fingertips! Although my collection seems to have grown quite a bit since I last took this photo......oops!

Also on the cake plate are my small collection of stick pins (I welcome any advice on what to do with those guys!), some favorite stamps, and my beloved Evalicious embellishments. I also have some other odds and ends, many from packaging, that inspire me.

And now, I'm about to show you my VERY FAVORITE part of my entire scraproom.

Before you look at the photo, a little background: Journaling spots are among my favorite embellishments ever. I used to have them stored in about twelve different places. Now, I decided that these little guys deserved their very own bin.

Many of my sets of journaling spots and diecuts are in the packages, but I keep loose pieces (including about 8 million October Afternoon journaling cards) in a little circular storage box I had lying around. I also have some of my very favorite Elle's Studio embellishments right up front where I can see them.

On a bad day, just looking at this bin makes me happy:)


I keep all of my tall embellishments in a vertical magazine holder like so:


I also realized that before, I was wasting quite a bit of space by using bins that were much shorter than the shelves. With arrangements like the one below, I'm trying to maximize the space more:

If you haven't been able to tell already, I am a HUGE flower fan, so I thought it would be fitting to give them their own little space.

I created a friendly little tag to attach to the bin so I wouldn't forget about it (if you haven't noticed I'm very forgetful. The major challenge in my organization is putting things where I won't forget about them!).


And a little peek inside:

My embellishments each have their own little bin to stay in:

I keep my loose chipboard in this box now--I love how it's messy and easy to maintain, but still contained and neat.

And finally, my stickers and rub-ons are in one of my smaller bins:

I absolutely love being in my room now.

While these changes were happening, however?


You get the idea.

Boy, am I glad those days are gone!

So tell me, what are YOUR favorite organizational secrets?