Saturday, February 29, 2020

Lessons From Kermit

If you follow Cake Wrecks then you'll see the Sweet counterpart to this tomorrow, but for now, here's the song I've been singing myself all week. It made me feel a bit better in my "stuck" times, so I hope it does the same for you.

 (Hit play, then start scrolling.)

It's not that easy bein' me
Having to spend each day
thinking all I ought to be
When I think it could be nicer
Bein' strong or clever or bold
Or something much more colorful like that

It's not easy bein' "Me"
It seems you blend in with so
Many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standin' out like flashy
Sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

But "Me" is how I'm made to be
And "Me" can be cool and friendly-like
And "Me" can be strong as a lover
Or clever as a writer
And bold in-between

When "Me" is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am me, and it'll do fine
It's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be


 I like to think Kermit would approve of my little re-write.


P.S. Today's the last day to become a February Squeegineer! Thank you to everyone who's helped support me and John this month through Paypal, but remember you can also enter our monthly give-away through e-mail, details here.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Let's Stop To Smell The Hogwarts Castle

I just had one of those "Wait, it's Thursday?" moments - but in a bad way. Anyone else?

This week feels like it's slipping away double-speed, and if you're feeling the same then I have a little reminder for all of us: 

Sometimes when you're feeling really behind the answer isn't to speed up, it's to slow down.

So c'mon, let's stop and smell these pretty Hogwarts pictures.

Mmmmm. Smells like a sense of wonder and Iocane powder.

Definitely getting some whiffs of cotton candy here.

Or, if you prefer your angles - and your intellects - more dizzying:

This one's Angry Cotton Candy

Lemon drops. With a touch of cedar.

Monday, February 24, 2020

It's Not A Cake, But I DEFINITELY Wrecked These Meringues

I've wanted to try making some simple meringues ever since I started following Uasis, that phenomenal meringue artist who makes piping the perfect Totoro look SO EASY.

 I knew to start simple, though, so I set my sights on these:

 How hard can little colorful kisses be, right?

(Those of you who saw my Stories last week, hush.)

In case you missed it, here's how it all went down:

(It turns out you need way, WAY more color in the bag - and it's probably better in a plastic bag, to keep the gel colors from drying.)

Christie colored her meringue directly, then put both pink and blue in the same bag to get the swirl.


Brace yourself...

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Let's Spend A Day At Epcot's Festival of the Arts 2020

My favorite Epcot festival is ending this weekend, so c'mon, let me take you on a virtual visit with all my pictures from this year!
John and I were lucky enough to see the art fest twice this year, so if you couldn't make it out in time, don't worry: I've got you covered. ::winkwink:: ::finger guns::

Our friend Scott brought us in for our first visit, when it rained most of the day:

So you'll know which day was which by all the water on the ground in my pics, ha.



 Here's one from our dryer, sunnier visit a few weeks later:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

This Breathtaking Black Princess Series Is Everything I Needed To See Today

This is going to be a viral sensation for sure - and you may have already seen it! - but I had to make sure it gets in front of your eyeballs:

(The dragonflies in her hair! Eeeeee!)

 This African-American Princess series is the personal project of LaChanda Gatson, a hair and makeup artist in Los Angeles. She joined forces with Creative Soul Photography and a whole team of talented models and stylists to bring her vision to life, and I am BLOWN AWAY.  "The mission," writes Kahran of Creative Soul, "was to redefine and re-imagine the traditional princess with our own dash of style, culture and swag."

I'm only going to show you a few, because I want you to go check out the creators' post after this. But first, four more of my favorites:

Some of the Princess re-imaginings are more subtle than others; I had to go to the comments for this one. Can you guess who she is?

(Hint: Look at the colors and feathers.)

I'll list the answers at the end of this post.

I was so distracted by this gorgeous poppy print skirt that I forgot to guess which princess she is! 

Can you tell? The answer is in her top.

This one's a little easier:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

From Trash To Treasure: Making Our New Console Table

John and I've been refurnishing our front room, and needed a console table to fill a blank wall. We wanted something classic/vintage and also VERY cheap, so we started hitting up local thrift stores.

After finding nothing, we revised our search to include things we could just use PARTS of, and immediately hit the jackpot:

This $4.95 end table from Goodwill.

 Yes it's a banged-up mess, but look at those gorgeous legs! They're exactly the kind of detailing we were looking for!

John yanked those lovelies off and patched & re-stained them to fix all the damage:

Look how pretty:


Next he used $35 worth of wood from Home Depot to make a basic table top:

He knocked the corners off the top legs to better transition to the thrifted ones:

At this point our table looked like it was wearing fancy knee-socks:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

9 Epbot DIYs Recreated By You Readers!

Hi, all! john here with my second Epbot post ever! Woohoo! I'm terrified! 
(Luckily, Jen will edit this to death so I'll look smart and there won't be to meny mispelinggs.)

Today we're looking at some of your amazing recreations of Epbot DIYs. Honestly, it's such a wonderful feeling when Jen and I see your projects. Just today I got another email from someone who used our DIY kitty recovery onesie for their sick kitty. Then they showed their vet, who loved it, so now I'm a little weepy thinking about future cats who won't have to be traumatized by the cone.

We've actually heard from quite a few of you about the recovery onesie, and I'll never get tired of your pictures:

Jen and I were so stressed with our girls that this was a DIY of desperation - but seeing how many furbabies it's helped since then has made it all worth it. (Plus looking back at the photos of baby Eva and Suki cinched up in these things will always make me smile.)


Next is Gina's take on our Wand Holster tutorial. Instead of the House letters, she used her family's initials:

How cool is that? Smart to use grommets & metal rings, too.


Elsa made her own Wonder Womb:

Jen still has hers next to her computer. Amazingly the cats leave it alone! Clearly they sense her power.

This one made me laugh out loud:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

I Went To Therapy For The First Time Ever. Four Months Later, Here's What I've Learned.

Last November I told you I'd reached a crisis point with my panic, and I was seeing a therapist for the first time ever. It was a hard post to write, but wow, did you guys show up. I was inundated with love and encouragement, plus that day I had several close friends share their therapy experiences, when I had no idea they'd ever been! It just goes to show - again - that good things come when we stop trying to hide our struggles, and just talk about it.

Which I guess is the principle behind therapy, huh?

So here we are, 4 months later, and dang. What a difference. I can sleep without facing John now. I can go whole days without rolling over to check that he's still breathing. The sudden spiking terror has been replaced by a dull nagging - more a habit than an adrenaline-fueled need.

On a broader scale, I'm having deeper discussions with John, both about my own struggles and his. I'm a little quicker to tell him when I'm feeling stuck mentally. I'm also a little quicker to ask how he's feeling. John takes me to my appointment each week, and afterward we talk through it. Sometimes I'll ask him the same questions Beth, my therapist, asked me. Other times I'll just give him a quick synopsis of what we covered, which helps me organize it all in my head.

I feel a little more focused, a little more proactive. I'm a little clearer on what I want in life, on how I want to focus on people over productivity - and recognizing that I tend to reverse those things if I'm not paying attention.

So now that I've sung its praises, let me tell you how seeing a therapist has done almost NOTHING I expected it to.

Things I Thought I Would Get Out Of Therapy:

- Step-by-step strategies 

- Brilliant outside analysis into the inner workings of my psyche

- An exact diagnosis of why I'm like this

- Results

Things I Got Out Of Therapy Instead:

Sunday, February 9, 2020

5 Of My New Favorite Instagram Accounts To Follow

I'm always finding new gems on Instagram, and I freely admit my "follow" list changes almost weekly. In addition to tons of artists and Disney photographers, I try to keep a good random mix in my feed, so here come 5 of my newer favorite follows:

I'm not the only one who dreams about buying a crumbling Gothic mansion and restoring it while John and I and the cats live in an RV in the backyard, right? Because this account will fuel ALL your crumbling old house dreams:

I was born in Toledo, Ohio, so this one was calling my name really hard last month. Hnnnnng.

This is from a different house, but LOOK at the incredible wall finish:

Makes me miss being a faux finisher,  back when John and I had to match stuff like this.

This is why you always scroll through the slideshows on Cheap Old Houses; even if the exterior of the house is a little boring, there's almost always something drool-worthy inside.


2) Peter Anton, sculptor of giant food:

This broke my brain in the best way, and almost every post makes me grin. It doesn't get more "eye candy" than this!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

2020's Celebration That Must Not Be Named: Cornish Pixies, Puking Pastilles, & Pocket Hagrid!

 For 3 magical years Universal Orlando hosted the "Celebration of Harry Potter", a full weekend of Potter-ific exhibits and activities, before abruptly cancelling the event last year. We fans showed up anyway and had a grand time, but hoped Universal would officially bring back Celebration for 2020.

Here we are in the future, though, and Universal has still shown no sign of bringing Celebration back. But not to worry; once again the fans took matters into their own hands, and hosted their own!

It's called Un-Celebration or The Celebration That Must Not Be Named, depending on the group, and I almost like this version better than the official one. We basically had a mini Potter convention right there in the park, complete with games, costumes, and mingling with new and familiar friends.
These are just the Ravenclaws; there were too many of us to attempt a full group photo!

The CUTEST little Hedwig.

The Central Florida Slug Club organized this meetup, and Melissa - who helps run the group - even passed out a fun "Bingo" style game to get everyone mingling. This was brilliant, because it encouraged folks to approach each other and start chatting about things they had in common. I'm definitely stealing this idea for the future!

This is Melissa, btw:

Ha! Do you recognize her cosplay? It's from a display in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes:

Weasley's Puking Pastilles!

John and I didn't really have costumes, but the night before I remembered our friend Sharyn had made us three crocheted badger hats for our Hufflepuff Slumber Party. So we grabbed our friend Karen and showed up as a Hufflehug of Hufflepuffs:

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

New Second-Hand Furniture, A Steampunk Show, & YES I'M 41

Somehow I've accumulated a huge backlog of random life photos, so PREPARE THINESELVES.

...FOR GLOWY THINGS! (Globe-y things?)

John's mom flipped over this, said it reminded her of Rocky Horror Picture Show - which is the LAST thing I expected her to say. Um. I guess I'll have to google that?

Before the Labyrinth party we donated our front room furniture set to our favorite charity - both to make room for party things and because the 15-year-old couch & chair were showing their age.

So last month we started re-furnishing the room, and omigosh, gang, these two chairs are a dream-come-true:

I loooooove barrel chairs, they're so comfy for shorties like me. And these are practically new! We scored them from an office building nearby.

 Another second-hand score going in the room:

It looks like a porthole, right? Anyway, this thing was suuuper filthy. The wood parts were blackened and sticky (we think with tobacco tar) and we had no idea the legs would look like THIS after polishing:
I still need to take some beauty shots of the cleaned-up table. I'll post those with the finished room photos, which hopefully are coming soon. (We still need a console table, and thrift stores never seem to have those!)

Oh right, but here's a sneak peek at our new couch on the other side of the room:

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Come Shop The Disney Clearance Outlet With Me!

Every few months I like to check out the Disney Character Warehouse, our local clearance outlet for all the WDW parks. Almost everything in the store is at least 50% off the in-park prices, so I *HIGHLY* recommend a visit if you're here on vacation. 

   I always take a ton of pictures for my IG Story when I shop here, but this was a few weeks ago and I completely forgot to post them, ha. So instead you get a REAL LIVE BLOG POST WHAAAAAT.

  Now, there are two Character Warehouse locations, but since both have the same merchandise, I recommend this one in the Premium Outlets on Vineland. It's bigger than the one on I-drive, and not far from Disney Springs.

Before you ask, none of this is available online. At least not through Disney. You're likely to find re-sellers on eBay offering a lot of these things, though.

So with that caveat, let's take a look around!

 Lots of cute Christmas goodies:

Those velvet Mickey Santa backpacks were $45, down from $90.

And these little coin pouches were only $10.

Lots and LOTS of iron-on patches:

These sets were all $8, down from $20. They make me want to buy an old school jean jacket again and cover it with patches.

Cute Toy Story hair clips:

 I think they were $4?

As you can imagine I have to exercise a LOT of self-control in this store... but I did buy this: