Dollar Daze – Glitter Craft? This Can’t Possibly End Well

9 Feb

dollar daze logo

 

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I could not escape my childhood unscathed from the influence of Lisa Frank. Those bright colors, those cute kitties and unicorns, glittery rainbow everything…how could any preteen girl resist? So when I saw these at Dollar Tree, I knew I had to try them.

Cute puppies and kitties...

Cute puppies and kitties…

...adorable fairies? Sign. Me. Up.

…adorable fairies? Sign. Me. Up.

Of course, I had to enlist my Awesome Assistant Andrea® to help me out. Since there were two kits we each got one.

She looks thrilled to try this. Little did she know...

She looks thrilled to try this. Little did she know…

First we took everything out of the box so we could see what all was included. Lots of little packets of glitter, the artwork, a weird stick thingy, and a frame for your finished product.

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The kits worked a lot like a color by numbers page. You peel off the numbered paper for the color you’re using to expose the sticky glue, shake on the glitter so it sticks to said glue, shake off the excess, then start again with the next color. Andrea has used a kit like this before, so we were familiar with how it worked. Even though we knew how to do it, we still read the directions. Good thing, too. Because even though I know that glitter is the herpes of craft supplies, I still didn’t think to put down something to catch the glitter. Not that it helped that much; we still had a crazy mess when we were done. I’d hate to think what it would have looked like if we hadn’t used the plates to catch the excess.

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They make it sound so easy. Deceptively easy.

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I can’t even begin to tell you how many things are wrong and misleading with this.

So we started crafting. First, let me point out that the helpful tool? Not helpful at all. It was really hard to pull the paper from the sticky parts, and when it did, it often took other sections along with it.

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You can see how detailed and complicated the design is. Made it very hard to separate the numbered sections.

There were lots of teeny tiny details, and it was very hard to pull just those parts. And once the paper came up off the glued backing? There was NO putting it back on. So if you accidentally pulled off a star or heart or part of a butterfly wing? Too bad.

Andrea trying to use the tool to get up the paper. I found I was using mine primarily to hold down parts that shouldn't have been exposed yet.

Andrea trying to use the tool to get up the paper. I found I was using mine primarily to hold down parts that shouldn’t have been exposed yet.

Andrea was going rogue and not following the numbers, so I figured I’d try to do the picture as directed. That was a challenge, especially since I had a hard time getting up the pieces that were numbered one. It was so hard, I started with five, because that was most of the background and using my fingernails I could use the edge to get between the paper and the glue. I want to point out that five, being the background, had the largest area that needed to be covered. If we look back at the supplies picture, what do you notice about the blue glitter?

Huh. The one that covers the greatest area is the smallest tube. Awesome.

Huh. The one that covers the greatest area is the smallest tube. Awesome.

The more I tried to pull off the tiny bits, the more I realized that the perferations were not very well cut, making it impossible to keep the edges clean, if you even left edges at all. Some of the design elements were completely unrealistic.

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Looking at the eyes, the only thing that went through my mind was, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

One of the other challenges was that the glue was sticky, but not sticky enough to hold the glitter, so as I was taking off the next section, glitter from the previous section was flaking into it, or coming off my hands as I was trying to pull apart the paper.

Putting on the pink. Even though the pink was one of the bigger glitter packets, it still wasn't enough to adequately cover its sections.

Putting on the pink. Even though the pink was one of the bigger glitter packets, it still wasn’t enough to adequately cover its sections.

Andrea appeared to be doing pretty well…

She was luckier pulling pieces off than I was.

She was luckier pulling pieces off than I was.

…but it wasn’t more than ten minutes later when she threw down her stick and said, “Nope.”

This is her "You've got to be kidding me" look.

This is her “You’ve got to be kidding me” look.

I couldn’t blame her. Between the weird inconsistency with the glue and the ability of the glitter to stick to it, to the nearly impossible to remove sections, I was ready to give up as well. But I continued, because I had to see what a hot mess this artwork would become by the time I was done.

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Wow. Just, wow.

Notice that, unlike any of the examples on the front of the box or the directions, there are no black lines to help with picture definition. It’s not like with a coloring book, where you can tell what something is supposed to be. Ugh.

Let's compare their version to my finished product, shall we? Yup. Nailed it.

Let’s compare their version to my finished product, shall we? Yup. Nailed it.

And the mess. OMG, the mess.

Bits of shredded paper, glitter everywhere. This is a scout leader's dream project, amirite?

Bits of shredded paper, glitter everywhere. This is a scout leader’s dream project, amirite?

I like to think that Andrea and I are pretty crafty people. I mean, our watercolor projects were pretty successful. But this? Height of frustration. Based on our experience, I was curious to see what age group they recommended for this project.

The second time this evening I found myself asking, "Are you fucking kidding me?!?"

The second time this evening I found myself asking, “Are you fucking kidding me?!?”

Four plus? Four plus?!? Yeah, if you want endless temper tantrums. I can’t imagine any child under the age of twelve having the patience to do this. Hell, I didn’t have the patience for this! Andrea outright quit, and if I had been PMSing, I guarantee there would have been tears.

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The frame makes it so much better. Just kidding. It still sucks.

So sadly, we have a fail of epic proportions. Seriously, I don’t know how this could have been any worse. I think the designs they chose were way too complicated for the media they chose, and (I can’t believe I’m actually saying this) they didn’t include enough glitter to adequately complete the project. There was not a single part of this that either of us found enjoyable. I think I would have had more fun if I’d just taken all of the paper off and randomly dumped glitter on the page. Sorry, Dollar Tree. This one gets an F. I never want to do this again.

The dead eyes on Andrea's animals represent the deadness in my soul after having to endure this.

The dead eyes on Andrea’s animals represent the deadness in my soul after having to endure this.

At least it was only a dollar. If I’d spent real money on this, I’da been pissed.

50 by 50 #4- Meet George Lucas

5 Feb

This one’s kind of a double edged sword, really. Because on the one hand, OMG I WOULD LOVE TO MEET GEORGE LUCAS! He’s my hero, and basically has been since I was seven. On the other hand, knowing that he’s been my hero for most of my life, I know how I’m going to react should I ever actually grace his presence.


Embarrassing for all parties involved, I’m sure. I’d like to think I would be calm, cool, and collected, but I know better. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I would not be able to contain the maelstrom of emotions. I’d try, but I have a feeling I’d be a miserable failure. Both Jason and Andrea would attest to that. They’ve both seen me meet celebs who are further down the Richter scale, and while I handled it okay, I definitely get a little overly excited. And those weren’t people who informed and shaped my existence. That would, I’m sure, result in fangirling that is off the charts.

I met a lookalike at a convention once. I was nervous to even go up and ask HIM for a picture, and he only looked like the guy.

The other reason I’m hesitant to actually try and meet him is because I’m so worried that he would be a dick. I really don’t think my worldview could handle it if he ended up being a complete asshole. I don’t think that he would, but there’s always the possibility. I’ve met folks before that I admired who were douchebags on not one but two occasions, so it’s a legit fear.

So why is this so important to me? I go back and forth on whether this is touching or weird, but I can honestly say that he was the most influential male in my life when I was growing up. I mean, I had Pa as a father figure, but he was pretty detached and didn’t talk much. He did teach me how to change a tire and change the oil in my car, but that was the extent of the knowledge I received from him. When I saw Star Wars in 1977, my whole worldview changed. Now mind you, I went to a lot (like A LOT, a lot) of movies when I was a kid, and not one had the same impact as Star Wars did. It was my everything. And it influenced so much of my life, both as a child and in my adult years. Because of Star Wars, I played French horn in band. Because of Star Wars, I developed a love for Joseph Campbell and that opened me to a whole world of mythologies and traditions. Star Wars music was incorporated into our wedding, and a belated honeymoon included going to a Star Wars convention in Los Angeles. Star Wars was my gateway drug into the world of nerdery, which I don’t think is a bad thing.

 

Me and Jason at the convention with Stormtrooper Elvis. Because that was a thing.

I would even say that Star Wars influenced a lot of my feminist leanings, which would probably surprise a lot of people. For the most part, people hammer Star Wars for being sexist because it only has one major female character. Fair enough, I’ll cede that point. But what a badass mofo female character she was! Princess Leia was fearless and stood her ground with some pretty intense situations. She was a leader of the rebel alliance. Although initially she had to be rescued from the cell block, who got them out of there by going through the garbage shoot? Damn straight. Some would even say, “But Luke still had to rescue her by blowing up the Death Star.” Yes, but think on this. She was the major leader of the alliance. Thinking logically, if you knew there was the potential for the place you’re using as your headquarters to be blown to bits, wouldn’t you be evacuating the key leaders to ensure that the rebellion would continue? Leia stayed in the control room, monitoring the progress throughout the entire Battle of Yavin. And those are just a few examples of how Leia was a badass.

The other part is that my childhood was not the greatest, and Star Wars was my refuge. To this day, if I’m having a bad day or struggling, I can escape into one of the films and be transported. There are so many ways that my basic existence was influenced by Mr. Lucas’ creativity, I really do want to personally thank him some day. I know it’s dumb, and there are millions like me who share the same feelings. I also really do sometimes look at the idea that a celebrity shaped my experience, or that a movie had that much influence on me, and I feel like I must be off my nut. But I can’t deny that it had a major impact, and if not for George Lucas, we wouldn’t have Star Wars. So whether it makes me a sad loser or just a grateful fan, I still wish I could just say thank you for all that he’s given me in the form of escape, entertainment, dreams, and life experiences. I say with all sincerity that I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without his influence.

I don’t know how realistic this goal is, but I had to put it on there.

The Day the Music Died

3 Feb

I grew up in a town that was famous for two things. The first was our annual Fourth of July celebration, although that fame was really limited to Iowa. Clear Lake’s other claim to fame is that it is the town where The Music Died. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens performed their final concert at Clear Lake’s own Surf Ballroom. That pinnacle event happened 56 years ago today, on February 3, 1959.

I went to a lot of teen dances here during high school. (photo credit: Surf Ballroom)

It’s a classic tale of love and loss… okay, not really. For the uninitiated (or really, really young) the three artists in question performed at the Surf for the Winter Dance Party. They were supposed to ride the bus to their next gig, but because of the extreme cold, a heater on the bus not working correctly, and some sick (like literally sick, not “dude, that’s sick…”) performers, they decided to charter a plane. This would allow for quicker travel and healing time.

Well, that didn’t work like it should have.

The event was immortalized in Don McLean’s magnum opus “American Pie” and the rest, as they say, is history. For as long as I’ve been alive, we continue to capitalize on our infamy by recreating the Winter Dance Party every year. A number of years ago, they even put up a memorial in the field where the plane came down. And much like the Field of Dreams (also in Iowa), if you build it, people come. Serious numbers of people, holy cow! When I was a server at the local Perkins in high school, you wanted to work the weekend of the Winter Dance Party because, A) we were the only thing open after 10:00 at night (aside from the truck stop), B) those folks were excellent tippers, and C) you never knew from where in the world people would have made the pilgrimage to the Surf. Seriously, people from all over the world descend on the town for a cold ass weekend in February. I remember one year I waited on a couple from Australia, a family from London, and another couple from Germany. It was bizarre.

Aside from being steeped in the mythology of the event thanks to growing up in the town, my family actually had some personal connections to the Day the Music Died.

Even though she was only nine years old at the time, my mom did go to see the final concert. Typically the audience was 18+, but since my mom’s best friend’s dad was the manager at the time, he let mom and Shelly come to see the show. No backstage stories or pics or anything, but just the fact that my mom saw the show was pretty cool. It’s like my coworker who actually went to Woodstock. By osmosis, you get to touch a moment in history.

The second connection is that the field where the plane crashed is just a few miles from my childhood home. I originally thought it was only a mile from my house, but after looking at the map it’s more like five miles. Still within walking distance, but truthfully not as cool as I had originally thought. Even though there’s a legit memorial there now, it’s still tricky to find, as evidenced by this post directing people on how to get there.

Yeah, that's a bit of a hike...

Yeah, that’s a bit of a hike…

The third, and probably most (fascinating, gruesome, fill-in-the-blank-with-your-preferred-adjective) connection is that my grandfather was working for the local funeral home at the time. Guess what Pa had to do the next morning? Yup, Pa had to go help pick up the bodies. And there’s my claim to fame, y’all. I’ve tried to look at some of the old photos of the crash and see if I can identify him in any of the pics. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, because of all the coats and hats I can’t tell which one is him. And some of the pics are gruesome- today’s journalists do not have a lock on inappropriate dead body/wounded people pictures. They are simply carrying on a fine tradition.

The guy on the left with the jumpsuit kinda looks like him, but not enough I could say definitively.

As with most things, Pa never talked about it much. Truthfully, if Grandma hadn’t told me about it, I would never have known he was out there. I remember asking him about it once and the only thing he said was, “The Big Bopper was a heavy son of a bitch.”

You can see where I get my tact and class. Must be genetic.

The only other thing I was told, which after doing some digging on the interwebs makes me wonder if it’s even true, was that when they were picking up the site, Pa found Buddy Holly’s watch. He said he considered pocketing it, but decided better of it and gave it to be returned to Holly’s widow. I remember a couple years ago hearing that they had auctioned off the watch for around $60,000. According to Pa, he found it that day, but one of the stories that is told online is that it was found after the spring thaw and the sheriff personally presented it to Holly’s wife. So not sure if it was found the day of and they held onto it, or if Pa’s story is just part of our family legend and not entirely true. Guess we’ll never know.

 

I’m Not Abandoning You Again, I Swear!

26 Jan

A Dollar Daze will be coming either later today or tomorrow. I’ve been down and out the last week with a nasty stomach bug that made it impossible to do anything but eat soup and curl up in the fetal position and cry. I tried reading, but my mind couldn’t concentrate well enough to do that, much less write. I even had trouble watching Doctor Who. Doctor Who, y’all! You’d think I would take a week off at home as an opportunity to binge on that shit, but I could only get through a couple of episodes before my feeble brain wanted to go lay down again.

 

So bear with me. I’ve crossed the river into human land again, so more posts are coming very soon. Stay healthy and safe, especially you East Coasters who are about to get hammered. This Minnesotan sends best wishes to a speedy blizzard recovery.

50 by 50 #3- Get Under 200 Pounds

14 Jan

I was trying to decide how far to delve into this topic, because to be honest it’s pretty loaded. I have a pretty long history with weight issues, and I could write a book about my journey. In the interest of keeping this shorter, I’ll just focus on the specific topic at hand and not go into the gory details. It is definitely something I’ll explore more at another time.

001

When I was a child, I thought I was fat, but looking back at pictures now I so clearly was not. Athletic, yes. Healthy? Absolutely. Fat? Nope.

 

I feel like I’m caught in between two sides, which of course means that I piss off everyone. Much like my agnosticism has the ability to piss off both Christians and atheists, my position on my weight probably makes both sides unhappy. I follow a couple of bloggers and have friends who are very active in the Health At Every Size movement. And I think that’s great. I really do. You shouldn’t have to subscribe to cultural pressures to be thin or assume that hitting some magical number will all of a sudden change your life so everything’s butterflies and rainbows. I applaud them for loving themselves for the way they are, haters and popular culture be damned. I wish I had that level of fortitude and bravery.

002

Still not fat.

 

But I’ll be honest. I don’t.

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Still not fat. Damn, look at those arms! My 45 year old self is jealous of those 13 year old arms.

 

It’s not that I hate myself for being fat. I think that’s completely the wrong approach, because when you get into the hate/fear category, it just perpetuates more hate and fear. I don’t agree with the concept that if you hate yourself enough, you’ll change. In the history of the world, I don’t think that has worked for anyone ever. Or at least not long-term. Maybe it can be a short-term solution, but it’s never going to make for lasting change.

003

I wish I was as “fat” as I was in high school.

 

I don’t hate myself, but I do recognize that when I have been at a lower weight, or when I have been active (which always results in lower weight), I feel better. For whatever reason, I don’t feel as tired all the time, I don’t have physical pain as much, my depression gets under better control, and I find it’s easier to do the things I love, like dancing or hiking. Or, you know, ascending a flight of stairs without getting winded.

3 hiding baggy

Me now. I hide a lot under baggy clothes.

 

I also know that I use food as a crutch. I acknowledge it, and have no problem acknowledging it. I know HOW to lose weight. I just don’t. If I’m given the choice between a salad and chicken strips, dammit, I’m eating chicken strips. If I’ve had a bad day, I have no problem eating a pint of Chubby Hubby for dinner to soothe the raw edges. I may be pissed at myself once I see the bottom of the container, but in that moment of instant gratification, it’s all good.

3 baggy

And I may be the exception to the rule. I know there are people who have conditions that make it impossible to lose weight. Either they have thyroid issues, or PCOS, or one of many autoimmune disease that hinder their ability to successfully reach their goal. I am not one of those people. I just make poor choices. I know I do. If I ate less shit and moved a little more, I’d be lighter.

3 with cow

So I’m not begrudging anyone, but I know what is valid for me. And I’ll be honest, at the age of 45, even if I worked out for three hours a day and ate only kale I doubt I’d ever reach my “ideal weight”, whatever that is. At this stage of the game, I don’t want to be thin, although I remember a time when that was the dream. My goal by 50 is to get under 200 pounds. I’ll still be heavy, but I’ll be closer to wearing clothes I can buy outside of expensive specialty stores, and carrying around 30-40 (it was 30, but then holidays…) fewer pounds would make a big difference in my ability to do things, like dance. Or do the 5K, paddleboarding, and hiking long trails goals that are further down the list. Hell, losing some weight would probably even make #1 easier, if nothing else because I’d fit into a wetsuit. Ideally, I’d like to get to a size 12 or 10 so I can buy cute clothes anywhere, but I don’t know how realistic that is.

#3 me now

So hate me for being fat, or hate me for not accepting myself at this weight. Haters gonna hate, no matter what you do. Either way, I’ve got a goal and we’ll see where it leads. But it’s my decision, and that’s probably the only thing that really matters.

Dollar Daze – Watercoloring with Cousins

12 Jan

dollar daze logo

 

 

We had family time over the holidays, so I took that opportunity to enlist some additional help in trying out this week’s Dollar Daze entry. This week’s experiment takes me back to my own childhood with painting sheets that had the paint included.

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I remember liking these as a kid. They were like an all-inclusive resort, so I didn’t have to dig out the watercolors and the brushes and the paper. All in one, AND this one included a paintbrush. Whee! Now, who should I recruit to help me out? These children look like good candidates.

“Ugh! I’m a surly teenager and I hate hugs from my cousins!”

 

My nephew Kaden was more than willing to help me out.

Say "Hi!" Kaden!

Say “Hi!” Kaden!

There were several pages to choose from in this farm themed coloring pack,

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So many options. Sorry the lighting sucks. A professional photog, I am not.

so Kaden chose a barn…

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…while I picked a lovely beehive landscape.

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Just because I have help doesn’t mean I’m not going to have fun too.

Since the set only had one brush, we borrowed Andrea’s brushes. That turned out to be a smart plan, because it wasn’t long before Kaden had grown weary of the brush that was included. It didn’t spread well, and the bristles were sticking out a lot.

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So strike one for this activity. Additional brushes are required.

Eventually even Andrea joined in the fun. Because let’s be honest; if it involves art in any way, shape, or form, she’s going to participate.

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Kaden didn’t just color the sheet for me. He also provided some commentary about the quality of the product. He said it was fun, but there wasn’t enough paint (he ran out of blue and green) and the brush that was included was hard to work with.

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Kaden showing his finished artwork. It was a fun activity for a winter afternoon, since it was too cold to go outside.

We did take a quick break for some kitty snuggles.

Andrea and Kaden were both distracted by Callie.

Andrea and Kaden were both distracted by Callie.

Okay, Callie. You've had your moment. Now let Andrea get back to work!

Okay, Callie. You’ve had your moment. Now let Andrea get back to work!

Eventually all the artwork was finished.

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One thing I will say, just as with regular watercolors, if you have knowledge about technique you’ll get decent results. Andrea agreed with Kaden that considering most of the pictures had lots of sky and trees, the blue and green did run out pretty fast. I also noticed that the paper that the “paint tray” was on tended to start shredding when you were getting toward the end of a color, which gave your painting a more textured look. Not sure if that’s a benefit or a drawback.

And now, close-ups of the finished artwork.

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Kaden’s masterpiece. You can tell where he used the kit brush because of the lines.

 

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My ducks and bees. I tried to use some shading to give it a more realistic look. Didn’t turn out too bad.

 

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And Andrea’s offering. I really like her bunny and flowers.

I think this product deserves a good solid B. It was a great way to burn an hour or so, and it does allow for the artist to use their creativity to make the picture their own. But there were definitely some shortcomings, mainly the brush and the amount of watercolor paint that was actually available. Despite the challenges, we were still able to make some pretty pictures, and it wasn’t so frustrating that we wanted to give up. A fun time was had by all. And I even sent Kaden home with the remaining pages as a thanks for his help. Another Dollar Tree win in the books.

 

 

50 by 50 #2- Put Two More Stamps in my Passport

9 Jan

When I was originally making this list, I started thinking about all places I wanted to visit. As I was writing things down, however, I realized three things:

  • If I kept it up, 50×50 would consist of only my travel dreams,
  • The reality of going to that many places (unless I win the lottery) in five years is highly unlikely,
  • This is a five year plan, not an actual bucket list. Which, random side note, I need to come up with a real cool name for the concept. Because “five year plan”? Sounds mega lame ass.

I would love to be able to take a year and just see the world. Even if I don’t do that, just being able to see a variety of new countries and cultures would be awesome. I have a serious case of wanderlust, and always have. Realistically I could, within the next five years, go couple of new places. It could be knocking off two in one trip, like going on a cruise or exploring a couple of countries during a trip to Europe. Leaving it open to just a number doesn’t limit me to have to go to London if there’s a good deal on Jamaica. Or feeling let down because I didn’t make it to Paris this time around. If nothing else, by saying I’ll put two more stamps in the passport, if I’m getting really close to the end and haven’t accomplished anything, I can take a quick hop up to Canada and a jaunt down to Mexico and done. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my dream of going to Australia someday, or going back to Japan, or checking out any number of magical foreign destinations on my actual bucket list. It just means that I’m not confining myself to a limited travel box and/or unrealistic expectations. And I think that’s a pretty good plan.

So what are some places that I’d like to visit?

Australia- I’ve had a pretty much life-long obsession with Australia, and someday I WILL take my childhood fantasy dream trip, which consists of a week in Sydney, a week in the outback with a trip to Ayer’s Rock, snorkeling or scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, and then checking out either Tazmania or the western side of the country. Yeah, pretty much going to have to be a month long adventure, but if you’re going to go, make it worth it, amirite?

London/Britain- How can you not want to visit the birthplace of Doctor Who, Duran Duran, and the Beatles?

Ireland/Scotland- Either or both, because I have ancestry from there and would like to check it out. And, yes, I know they are two different countries/cultures. And yes, I know that they would probably be offended by being lumped together. But growing up I was told my heritage was Scotch/Irish, so there we go.

Germany- Another ancestry thing. Jason’s family name is actually the name of a town, so it’d be cool to check that out. And despite my current agnosticism, my lifelong education of Martin Luther compels me to explore some of that history.

Venice- Not sure why the canal thing fascinates me, but it does. I’d blame The Vampires of Venice, but I wanted to go before that, so…

South Korea- I’ll admit prior to 2011 I had zero interest in visiting Asian countries. But after visiting Japan (and subsequently learning more about South Korea), I definitely want to check it out.

Tunisia- Go ahead and laugh. Because I will freely admit that the sole reason I want to visit is to see the places they used to film Tatooine in Star Wars. Dude, you can actually spend the night at the Lars homestead!

China- Yeah, touristy Great Wall shit. But still.

Machu Picchu- I dig history, and this just fascinates me.

Japan- Yes, we were already there once. But it was amazing, life-changing, and I want to go back and see a bunch of the stuff we missed the first time around.

Galapagos Islands- I think it’d be really cool to check out all the different critters found there.

Something Caribbean- Seriously not picky about where, although probably not Haiti. This is one of those, “let’s knock off a whole bunch of these on a cruise” kind of thing. I’m just thinking warm sandy beaches and water sports and exotic locales. I’m not sure how much actual culture I’d get, because from what I understand the places cruises take you are really touristy and nothing like real local experiences. I suppose the same would be true for a majority of the places on my list, but from what I hear the Caribbean that resort/cruise tourists see is very different from legit island life.

Paris/France- I absolutely want to see Paris, but from what I understand the French countryside has a great deal to offer as well. I’d be open to both.

Iceland- I don’t know what the appeal is, but I hear that it’s a hidden gem. Besides, it’s cool to say Reykjavik.

Sealand- Because I can purchase a title of nobility or knighthood, I want to visit my principality.

Of course, since this is passport related, all of these are foreign locales. Good heavens, if I added all my domestic travel yearnings, we’d be here all day. And this is just the short list. I haven’t included anything in western Asia, Scandinavia, or South American destinations. Just put me on a plane somewhere and let me explore. It’ll be cool. Not sure I’d find my way back, but you’d send a search party for me, right?

 

What else should I add to my dream travel list? Where would you want to go?

Dollar Daze – Gift bags!

5 Jan

dollar daze logo

I debated sharing this Dollar Daze because the holidays are essentially over. But I decided to go ahead because technically we’re still within the twelve days of Christmas. Also, I’ve noticed that the holiday products at Dollar Tree are on sale two for $1.00 so if you want to get this now and store it away for next year, you’ll have an extra bonus buy. And that’s the other reason I decided to go ahead: this product was awesome. So you’ll totally want to go stock up for next year.

I’m not much into the cookies and holiday baking shtick, mainly because we know how well my cookie baking turns out. But Andrea? She is all over it. Her gifts for her friends and teachers this year were handmade decorated cake pops.

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Good lord, that’s a lot of work. Apparently the lazy gene is not genetic. Which I guess means it’s technically not a gene… you know what, never mind.

I gotta hand it to her, the girl’s got ambition. She found a cake pop cooker at Goodwill for five bucks, and since she works at Michael’s she has easy (and discounted!) access to all manner of cake supplies, so it was a good fit. But what to put those lovely goodies in once they were done?

"Look at this beautiful cake pop! Whatever shall I do with it?"

“Look at this beautiful cake pop! Whatever shall I do with it?”

Enter Dollar Tree’s gift bags!

Pretty!

Pretty!

They came in packs of eight for $1, which I thought was kind of chintzy. But that was before I was cleaning out the pantry and discovered a leftover package of goodie bags we bought at Target last year. That package was $5 for the same number of bags.

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Plus these are paper, not plastic, so they’re not as sturdy.

Andrea started packaging and discovered that these bags worked perfectly for her treats. They were long enough that the sticks didn’t poke through the top, and there was room for it to fold down and seal.

They went into the bag with room to spare.

They went into the bag with room to spare.

Stuffin' and a foldin'

Stuffin’ and a foldin’

The sealing mechanism on these bags basically consisted of a twistie-tie embedded in the top of the plastic.

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Roll it down, bend, AND done.

Fairly convenient, unlike the more expensive bags. Sure, they had pretty stickers, but that’s one more piece to have to deal with.

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The stickers that came with the $5 gift bags. Gawd, and you have to write the to and from too? Too much work, I say.

And you know me: Laziest Person Alive®. Work smarter, not harder. Or preferably not at all, that’s what I always say.

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Pretty little maids all in a row.

I was a little worried that the plastic would make it hard for her to write the names on the bags, but a plain ol’ Sharpie did the trick.

Once again, Dollar Tree delivers. She had plenty of bags to go around, they were easy to use and transport, and they kept the treats fresh until they were delivered. And (here’s the bestest part!) they were WAY cheaper than even the cheapies you can get at your local big box bargain store. A++, Dollar Tree. You win again! Making the holidays cheaper, one dollar at a time. Or four dollars at a time, in this instance. You’re good to a girl’s wallet, that’s for sure.

 

Make sure to check back for next week’s Dollar Daze when we have a special surprise guest tester. It’ll be fun!

2014 in review

30 Dec

So every year WordPress gives me a year end report on how my blog is doing. Considering I had about a six month period when I posted….um…nothing….the stats still turned out pretty good. I want to personally thank all my Zillas for sticking with me through the dry spell. I promise to make 2015 the best year yet.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Help me out- what would you like to see more of? Geeky stuff? Retro nostalgia? Random crap? I’m all ears! And let me know if you think I should participate in blog hops like April A to Z and stuff along that line. I’m open, and those both are a lot of fun and make me work, but if I’ma doing them, I probably should start prepping now.
Y’all make my blog what it is, and I wouldn’t be here without my loyal Zillas as my audience. And y’all are loyal, and I truly, madly, and deeply appreciate that. Let me know what you love and I’ll make sure to keep giving it to you.

Onward to 2015!

Have a Very Merry Thursday!

25 Dec IMG_1125

Just kidding!

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If you celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas. If not, I hope your day is relaxing and joyful.

PS- how do you know you have a teenager? It’s after 9:00 a.m. On Christmas Day, and she’s still sleeping.

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Visions of sugar plums and all that.

Happy holidays, my Zillas!

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