Saturday, January 31, 2009

I know you were wondering ...

So what do you do when your husband is home all day?
Do you shower sooner? Get ready sooner? Put on make-up everyday?

The answer is: No. Not really.
(But it turns out he doesn't shower so early himself on a lot of days either, so I'm convinced it's a 'I never leave the house syndrome')

At least we get to it eventually - in the week ;) (Just kiddin, I mean in the month, just kiddin, I mean in the day - most days)

But do you have more fun? Yes.
Oh, and if you stop by the house unexpectedly anytime before, oooh, 4pm maybe, just be patient & give us 10 or 20 minutes to answer the door (you know, so we can be slightly presentable). Sound good? Good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So what does a layoff teach you?

We are just one of many families that have been drastically affected by the economy.
.... I just wrote a few sentences about my thoughts on the economy that even I didn't feel like listening to and then realized all I was writing was BlogBlahBlah...
But aside from the economy/shneshnomony, I did want to share more about our experiences and motivations since I last shared our little unfortunate news with you recently. You know, how we're one of those families somewhat drastically affected by the economy right now - that news.
My reactions that first week in mid-November when we started dealing with being out of work: I just looked around at things we own and felt like they really were just that: things. If I had to see them go, it would be ok! We would survive. And we would still have the most important things to us: ourselves, each other, our family, friends, life lessons & the Gospel of Jesus Christ (specifically the LDS faith for us). It was refreshing to look around and feel better perspective about those things. I believe I am a daughter of God and have been given this opportunity to live here on earth to learn. So the things I have while I'm here on earth are not ultimately my own. This life and the things I have in this life are not mine. I believe it is all our Heavenly Father's. That is why it makes sense to me and many of the same faith to pay a 10% tithe on our earnings. We know that money is going to a better cause and serving others and that in addition to that, we will be blessed for giving back that 10% to our Heavenly Father. This was one of the first times where when we paid the rest of our 10% tithing for the year, we didn't have any proof of future money coming in. We decided to pay that 10% tithing in full anyway, and were immediately blessed with help from loved ones, and temporary job opportunities that would be good enough for us for that time and brought great relief. And I really mean that these blessings flowed in immediately. It was a clear cut result and blessing. I believe blessings come like this when we offer our tithes (or I would imagine we are blessed for donating to other charitable sources as well) and also when we offer our time & energy through service; say you have an opportunity to serve but can't see how you have enough time to get everything else done if you do that service; I have seen and believe that you will be blessed with help to get those other things done if you choose to put service first sometimes (not saying you should put it before your family regularly, balance is needed in all things).
*Gain better perspective on things: Check.
*Strengthen belief in giving even when you don't have much to give: Check.
This experience has been good to put a realistic spin on finances too. Your financial status seems pretty realistic when a layoff hits. This just gives me more encouragement to budget well and always be realistically minded about what money we have and don't have and where the money we have needs to go.
*Strengthen desire & abilities to keep a good budget & realistic financial mind: Check.
It was actually really nice to have this happen over the holidays (I may have said differently if we had older kids who had Christmas expectations). I felt really lucky that our holiday plans already included my entire family to come to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, and that Paul's parents were nice enough to come to us for Christmas. I definitely would have had a sad time if we had had to miss out on family festivities happening in another state or something. It was actually pretty fun to figure out gifts for Taya and a couple little treats for ourselves from a small amount of money left on a couple of gift cards & really good deals combined with coupons at places like JCPenney's (2 sets of pj's free for Taya!) & DSW Shoes($8 on a new stylista hand bag). Basically, it has just been kind of fun to find creative ways to save money; after all, if I spend money that I absolutely don't have to right now, I don't have peace of mind. So it simply would not be worth it. I have also joined Coupon Sense (online program to help you save 50% or more on your groceries). I am seeing very big savings so far, and they are only going to get bigger (as I collect more weeks worth of newspaper coupons). On Monday I bought $220 worth of groceries for $70 (and that is the most I've spent in 2 1/2 months, and I was able to stock up on non-perishable goods).
*Become more creative and hard working with money saving ideas & good deals: Check.
It has been really nice to spend time with Paul & Taya at home on a regular basis. Every day. It has been a little different & makes me notice how I spend my day more when I have Paul around to notice. But it has been good. The only thing I want to really improve on is taking more time to enjoy this time together: it's very easy still for us to be almost constantly focused on finding ways to save & earn money to remedy our situation; there is a lot of work to put into that right now. But I think we have actually found a lot more time to enjoy together & with Taya just in the last few weeks; just little outings, like going to a couple of farmers markets & an antique shop this last Saturday, & going on more walks/play ground visits.
*Spend invaluable time with my HunkaHusband & ToodlingToddler while I have them home more: Check.
Receiving help from family & friends on occasion has reminded us to receive humbly. Because what are you going to do if someone is giving you a much needed offering that they genuinely want to offer & you genuinely need - turn it down? If you have not asked for it & you know you're working hard to remedy your situation in the meanwhile, I think you just have to accept it - & humbly, and then be determined to give back. To give back now in ways you can (babysit, & other ways of non-costing service), and then to give back later; to pay it forward. Receiving helps strengthen relationships too. I feel truly amazed at those friends & family who have gone out of their way to help us in job searching connections & to assist us in a couple of cases, in ways big & small. Those moments when you receive from someone just makes you want to treasure such relationships & to help them with their own needs, now or later.
*Strengthen humility in receiving & strengthen relationships: Check.
This experience also strengthens my desire to be a prepared family: prepared with back up food supply, & prepared with financial savings as well as possible. And also: mentally prepared. No one is invincible & we will all have struggles happen in our lives. It's a lot easier to encounter those struggles when we just assume they will come up, not in a pessimistic way, just in a less fearful, matter of fact way. Interestingly, I kind of had an 'ah ha' moment with this sort of thought the day before Paul was laid off. Even then I felt it as more of a peaceful warning for other possible occurrences to come later on in my life, but now I feel like it was a peaceful warning related to this small experience as well. I am grateful for that warning.
*Strengthen desire to be prepared: Check.
*Listen when you feel warned: Check.
I have felt very grateful for these challenges during this time; not to say there aren't difficult moments or tense days or destructive mommy modes, hehe. But really, I know that we can grow significantly through our trials. I just hope that if we are growing right now, that we can maintain that growth after life gets easier again.
*Be grateful for trials: Check.
I probably could share more of these thoughts I've had over the last 2 1/2 months, but I may have already bored you to tears & I might be sounding high & mighty or like I think I/we have fully achieved each of these things. After all I did say, 'Check' after each one, didn't I? Hmmm, well my 'Check' = 'Working On It'/'Glad For the Life Lesson'/'Motivated' in that area.
I don't want to forget the perspectives that being out of a job has helped us to strengthen. I am glad that we are young in this experience and can hopefully stay motivated from these perspectives as we continue to raise our family.
Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, ideas, generosity & friendship/family kinship. We are so grateful for you and for your charitable ways. We are here to help you as well in our time & energy & prayers for you. We have been lucky to stay afloat so far with a slight increase in commissions in my job & short periodic side jobs for Paul while he continues to search for/create full time employment (which he is doing a very good job of). So we are hanging in there!
Thanks for listening!!
I hope you don't mind me sharing my strong beliefs & personal experiences like this. They are important to me and bring me understanding & happiness, but I am definitely not trying to be preachy or overly dramatic. I like learning from people's experiences & so I thought I would share my own. I also think these kind of lessons are important as journal entries.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


There is this character on the show Arrested Development named Bob Loblaw
(we've watched some episodes on ; go there if you haven't yet; you can watch shows, series, movies, for free! It's great!).

Say it again. Bob Loblaw. You laughing now? Oh, I love that name. It makes me laugh every time I say it or think about it.

So the next series of laughs to go along with my precious Bob Loblaw corner of my mind to make myself laugh when I need a smile is this. Ever since I've heard that character's name, I keep thinking of blogging talk as blahblah-ing talk. And it goes something like ....
'BlogBlahBlah....BlogBlogBlah Blah..BOBLOBLAW..
blogblogblahblahblogblogblah blahBLOGBLOGBLAHBLAH!'

You know what I'm talking about right? You keep a blog & your friends or family members don't; and some of your conversation topics with them have to do with a funny story or recommended recipe or product that you just happened to see on such and such blog, and the minute you even reference that blog in passing, you see their eyes glaze over (even on the phone, you can hear the glazing take place), then all of the sudden your talking turns into ... '...blogblahblah ... blogblogblahblah...................'

Now I constantly amuse myself going back and forth between Bob Loblaw & BlogBlahBlah in my head.

Just wait, it'll come to you. And when it does, it'll make you smile.

After you've read this post, next time you're referring to such and such on your blog in conversation, even if it's just in passing, you might be thinking...

'BlogBlahBlah....BlogBlogBlah Blah..BOBLOBLAW..
blogblogblahblahblogblogblah blahBLOGBLOGBLAHBLAH!'

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Antique Mania

We visited Cottonwood, Arizona recently on a quick stay in Sedona (thanks to a free stay Mom & Dad!). We came across Larry's Antiques in Old town Cottonwood. Maybe I am just getting introduced to the antique world, or maybe, just maybe .. I am right in that this was one of the biggest little antique stores around! Every corner you turned in the store opened up a whole new variety of antiques to relish and old commercial ditty's to reminisce about (okay, so I wasn't alive back then, but if I was I would be reminiscing about these ditty's). I've been in touristy antique shops, but this one seemed much more entertaining and eclectic to me with everything from pioneer type wagons to a deep orange vintage pitcher sitting on a tilt angle (loved this one!) to an old fashioned egg beater with a beautiful turquoise handle (that I bought for $2) to vintage advertisement signs and old stoves.
So I wanted to share one of my favorites with you here.

Milk Jugs. I can see any of these as a decor piece, inside or outside. I especially love the rusted one on the left & the vibrant blue jug near the right.

Just throw some lemon branches in the blue jug, and set it near your fireplace, on a display shelf, incorporated in your kitchen, next to your front door. The possibilities are endless! And I love the saturated blue. I can't stop visualizing it.

Lemon Pictures, Images and Photos

(Photo bucket Picture; unfortunately no lemon branch pictures to be copied, but isn't this pretty?)


The next weekend after our Cottonwood/Sedona jaunt (I think the word jaunt is amusing for some reason), I attempted a flea market excursion to east Mesa to look for more antiques to share ideas with you, but there were no antiques. Just the worst kind of southwestern pastel art that I could personally do without (no offense to those who like it; it is good that we all have different taste right?), along with silk screened t-shirts & millions of gadgets to clutter your home. No antiques (as advertised). So I will be looking for other real antique markets soon. Because I keep seeing great finds on other design blogs. Does anyone want to venture out with me?
Here are a couple of our other finds.

I love this bright red & this very subtle silvery blue.
See all those antiques in the background? Stories to be told there I'm sure.

Can you just imagine your hair pinned up, your apron tied, in your antique kitchen? I know I like modern, but I could really get into antique accents. Actually, I just like a balance of both eclectically mixed together, yet simple & clean. What about you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winners! Winners!

Are you biting your nails? Are you pulling your hair out? Have you been able to think of nothing else but my Classy Closets Giveaway results today??
(see last Monday's post for reference)
Just as I thought.

Well, wait no more...

Taya couldn't decide on just two of you, so we fired her.

Just kidding, I didn't really peak- (that much). ;)

Deanna!!! Come on down!! (And please, don't be scared by my drunk looking expression, or my expression that looks like I'm laughing in someone's face - I promise. I'm not.) I can't wait to meet you!!
And Katie!!! Yay!! I am so excited for both of you!!
(And even I am a tiny bit jealous, seeing as how we haven't been able to buy Classy Closets for our own home in the 2.5 years that I've been designing there).

All of the rest of you that entered: thank you so much for entering, for your enthusiasm, & for spreading the word. Word of mouth can help me in my job so much right now. I would love to give any of you that entered a great big discount if you are wanting to do a project (closets, garages, pantries, laundry rooms, entertainment centers, offices, wall beds, craft rooms, you name it).

Congrats Deanna & Katie!!!
And on another short, but good note! ...Do you remember how I mentioned that I was listed as 1 of 8 favorite blogs on a favorite blog of mine a week or two ago? You don't? Oh. - you were supposed to remember that. Anyway, that blog is 3 Bay B Chicks, and it is co-written by my lovely sister-in-law, Kacey, along with 2 of her good friends (Francesca & Thuy) who take turns writing posts; posts that are helpful to other moms, and posts that are down right hilarious. They all live in the San Francisco Bay Area (near where I grew up), hence the witty blog title - not to mention they all have good parenting ideas, creative toy & mommy finds, good recipes & hip tips to boot. My brother does an 'Ask a Dad' segment almost once a week, that is always funny. Seriously, my brother is funnier than funny, and anyone that knows him knows I'm not just saying that because he's my brother. I love 3 Bay B Chicks! Go check them out!!! Especially today's 'Ask a Dad'!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Architect for Hire

Has Paul started modeling you ask? What, would you be surprised by this or something?
The truth: Architect Magazine is doing an article, featuring Paul. So they had this mega talent photographer, Joe Pugliese fly from LA to Phoenix just to come to our house to do a photo shoot of the one & only: Paul (along with Taya in a couple photos too). Joe's website shows his portfolio filled with celebrities (family friendly note: one photo might warrant avoiding going very far on the 'Portfolio: Portraits' section). It was very cool to have Joe & his assistant, Aaron in our home for the photoshoot & to see their process (btw, they use film, not digital, interesting huh?). They were so kind in letting me hang around and ask them questions about their work. I put on my best clothes, did my best make-up and hair, but to no avail: no one asked for any pictures of me ...
I know, I know, it was Paul's shoot.

So why is Paul being featured in Architect Magazine? Well, this is the more unfortunate part: Paul was laid off from Circle West Architects in the middle of November. Amanda Hurley, of Architect Magazine found Paul's resume online & was impressed with it; she gave him a call asking if she could feature him along with a couple of others in an upcoming article about quality architects being out of work due to this economy. Well, obviously Paul was up for the article. (Check it out in February!)

Work it, work it...
It is VERY difficult to find a job in this economy right now, especially in architecture in Phoenix. We are open minded (in location & field of work), so if you have any ideas or networking or opportunities to share with us, please let us know! Paul is licensed (AIA) and LEED accredited (respected certification relating to environmentally sound design). A few of his valuable skills include Revit knowledge (respected 3D rendering program), along with intuitive strength in design. I hope you don't mind me using my blog to try to open up any other possible doors for my husband's career. We have included a slideshow of images of Paul's work on the sidebar there. Some of Paul's other skills include: furniture design & carpentry, graphics & renderings, and construction & home improvement.

Shown below are a few examples of Paul's talented work.

South Bank Mixed Use Development Rendering

Life Cycle Building Challenge Competition Submittal

Frehner Residence, Las Vegas, NV

Student Thesis Project: Cal Poly SLO 2003

If you know of any connection that might be interested in Paul's work, please forward this post on! You can also contact Paul by email at

Thanks for checking us out!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Classy Closets Giveaway Reminder: 2 days left!!!

I just wanted to remind those who are interested & haven't entered yet: the Classy Closets Giveaways (two $350 value closets/credits) end on Monday. All related comments or emails (E: received by midnight on Monday will be entered into the random drawing on Tuesday.
You can read more details two posts back: Monday, January 12th's post.
If you have any questions, let me know!

Friday, January 16, 2009

4 Years, Not a Single Disagreement (wink, wink)

Yesterday we celebrated 4 years of marriage.

In early November we revisited the beautiful spot where Paul proposed (see here for previous proposal story) in Provo Canyon
shown here.
Yesterday was a good day; time at the park with beautiful weather with Paul & Taya, and a nice little night out while my wonderful sister-in-law took the kiddo for us.
Happy 4 years Loaf!

Okay, Okay, I'll explain 'Loaf' now and not keep you just that perplexed. Paul & I sometimes call each other 'Loaf' because while we were engaged we were around our 2 newly wed friends (Friend are you reading this? Do you know who you are?) who kept calling each other 'Love' as a pet name; Paul thought they were saying Loaf at first and so ever since then, that is the closest thing to a pet name in our relationship (joking yet oddly endearing). Like it? Me too.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Seriously. A giveaway worth $350 (and two of them!). I am so excited about this!
Here is the deal:
As a Classy Closets Designer, I have received permission to give away 2 Classy Closets gift certificates worth $350 each here on my blog! (I can see your eyes just got big. It's a good Giveaway huh?) You can use the $350 for our set design $350 Closet Special, shown below (applicable to 6'-8' wide reach-in closets) or you can use it as $350 credit toward any design of your choice! In order to enter you simply have to leave a comment in my comment room on this post and you will be entered in the drawing. You can also choose to email me at instead. All names entered as comments on this post or emailed to me by next Monday, January 19th will count. I will post the results on Tuesday, January 20th (I will also notify you if I have a way to contact you). NOW, I want to encourage you to spread the word and not keep this to yourselves, so please let any parents, cousins, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc. know if you think they would be interested at all! You can give them my blog address, my email address, or you can even enter their name in the comment room for them. I want as many people possible to have this great opportunity!

Conditions are: One entry per household & you must live in the Phoenix Valley. This is a permanent and custom installment, so homeowners only please. (Family members of me and any other Classy Closets employees are excluded).

Here is a quick sketch I did with the overhead view & elevation of our $350 Closet Special with an average closet size (6'-8'), just to give you an idea in drafting form.

Make sure to check back here for the results next Tuesday, January 20th. There will be two very lucky winners!! (And of course this drawing will be done at random).


Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'll save the apologies for a delayed post.

Does anyone else miss Christmas already?
There are parts of it that are good to see go of course, but overall, I am a little sad every year when I take the tree down. It seems like Christmas just disappears come January 1st every year.
This is my Enjoying the Christmas Season Part II.
I have this syndrome: too many of my own pictures are cute or interesting to me, esp. when it comes to pics of Taya. C'mon, you know what I'm talking about (well, you definitely know when you see how many pics I'm posting here, I can hardly weed any out for the life of me! I know I'm not the only one. So just skim our pics if you want, or not. And if one catches your eye, then that's wonderful.
This first set of pictures is our own little photo shoot in which our wonderful friends, the Bandas let us borrow their camera (digital SLR camera; life changing equipment I tell you; or at least it will be blog-life changing one day down the road when we purchase one). I've been working & learning photo shop a little bit when I have the time, and love it! I could see Taya wear this dress everyday if it was possible, I love the dress, I love red on her, and of course - I love her! I bought it last year at Children's Place on super clearance after the holidays. I think I'll bust it out for Valentines Day too if it still fits her. Anyhow, back to the pictures!

Setting up for Christmas Eve Dinner at our house, with my parents & Paul's parents (Paul's parents stayed with us over the holidays, Thanks again for coming Skip & Julie!)
Love the hat too (it makes me laugh though too); but this is the longest she would keep it on; good thing it was just over a buck. Can you hear a British accent coming out of her (if babies could have accents, can you imagine baby babble with some sort of British accent to it?)

Christmas morning.

Amazing Christmas Dinner hosted by Bret & Candy (my oldest brother). Looky there. That is a crown pork roast, cored apples stuffed with corn bread based stuffing, mouth watering salad, and you can't even see the huge shrimp they brought back from Rocky Point. See? I told you it was amazing.

And no Christmas season would be complete without a trip to the LDS Mesa Temple Lights. They are BE-U-TI-FUL.

As usual, it was a wonderful Christmas season; I don't care what is going on in my life or how bad the world around me can seem; there is always happiness, meaningful times & sacredness to be found at Christmas Time. I believe there is a reason for that.


Stay tuned for a HUGE Giveaway!! Seriously .. in the next day or two (although I'll warn you, it only applies locally, sorry long distance friends!).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Does anyone else do this?

Do you ever go to tell someone something about yourself or how you do something and realize just how funny or quirky it is? I have these moments frequently, I mean frequently (italics & repeated words may not always be trusted, it is possible that they are only used for attention getting, theatric's sake, and exageration).

This was mine this morning. I went to comment on Sara's post this morning and realized how funny this habit is:

(Insert not-so handy-dandy little picture of spray bottle here, the one that photo bucket is NOT successfuly downloading for me)

Paul & I almost NEVER iron anymore. What do we do instead? I bought that Downy Wrinkle Releaser once a long time ago, and the ironing game was OVER then and there. It was a breeze! Now we just use water bottles (doesn't work quite as well as Downy's Wrinkle Releaser) so as to save money. It started with trying the new product. And Paul would ask me in the mornings to 'Spray Him'. Soon enough, he would take position (arms out like a scarecrow and legs apart) while I would spray him up and down, front and back and he would walk out the door to work or church. Now he doesn't even always have to say 'Spray me', we just know. He comes up, takes scarecrow position while I grab the water bottle and start spraying.

So to learn from the Spray Wrinkle Releasing Masters, I will share my tips with you today, and only today (this just in, you can access this post later on? Oh golly gee willickers, that takes the glory out of it. My message of help just got cheapened).


Husband (can be wife sometimes, but never the mailman): Take scarecrow position, give wife the all knowing look.
Wife: Start spraying nice even strokes, er sprays. That spray CANNOT be a squirt! I repeat, it must be a nice even spray. Beautiful. If it's a squirt, forget about it!
NOW, here is the secret. You cannot just spray, the other salesman will tell you that you can, but it just doesn't do the job 100%. You must spray, then press. Press with your hand nice and flat, nice even strokes, all the way around. If your strokes aren't even, you will create stripes of wrinkles. So you must find the art of the hand press stroke.
Last but not least, do it with a few minutes to spare before sitting down if you can, otherwise your moisture will set into the sitting wrinkles that you create.

And there you have it. The most useless, I mean useful post ever.

(I keep letting my other post ideas that I haven't gotten to keep me from posting, things like how I was just listed as 1 of Top 8 blogs on a favorite blog of mine - yay!, or how I love my new header that my talented husband created for me, or how our Christmas & New Years went and the pictures we took with a borrowed camera, or how we visited the coolest antique store I've ever seen last weekend in Cottonwood, Arizona, OR, OR...)

The funnest part of this post: Using the term Golly Gee Willickers. Not sure if I even spelled it right. But I liked it. If only you could hear the voice that comes along with that phrase in my family. I'll give you a hint. It's sarcastic. It turns Ron Howard in The Andy Griffith Show in an instant.