Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Moving Madness

I hate moving. I hate the packing, the planning, the apartment hunting, and well, everything.

You wouldn't guess it as we move just about every other day. But I hate it. And actually, every other day is a slight exaggeration (only slight), but since Will and I were married three and a half years ago, we have packed and moved five times... and are currently getting ready for our sixth.


We are trying to be happy about it. Will has been offered promotions with his company in West Texas for about 6 months now, but we keep turning them down as we do not want to move to West Texas. I'm not too keen on rattlesnakes and tornadoes. We don't particularly like living in Austin, either, and have been talking seriously about moving since we got here about two years ago. However, we certainly didn't think when we moved it would be to Abilene.

But off we go. We finally decided he needs the promotion right now and that his career is more important than my fear of being bitten by a rattlesnake or sucked into a tornado. And besides, it will only be a year in West Texas before we can move back and figure out where to go from there (I'm debating whether we should even bother unpacking!!).

Gracie is able to put on a happy face for a silly picture, but in the real world she is really upset by all the talk of moving. My whole family is in Austin and we get together as often as humanly possible and more. This apartment is all that she remembers living in and the idea of a "better apartment, just like the little girl in the moving book" just pisses her off.

It certainly doesn't help any that we have to pack and move out in under a month. She just sits back watching us pack up her toys and clothes and scowls, saying, "I'm not going to move to a bigger and better house. I'm going to live in Austin, Texas."

Luckily, Annelie is too young to figure out what is going on and the packing boxes are just a whole lot of fun for her. She is a climber and now she has a jungle gym all over the whole apartment.

I'm trying to lessen the blow of moving, by letting the girls have wonderful picnics filled with their favorite lunches and dinner. It certainly makes my life easier and the picnic amongst the boxes is Gracie's favorite part of the day.

The meal of choice seems to consistently be a hot dog octopus sitting in a Ramen noodle ocean filled with bagged veggie fish. Part of me is completely ashamed (that would be the organic loving, cooking meals from scratch part) but the other part of me thinks that I am just preparing them for the cheap and easy crap they will eat once they get to college (yay, for Ramen). Its good to be prepared, right?

Kinda gross. But the girls are happy.

So my artwork is being packed. I will still have my shop open for the next few weeks, but wont be starting any new projects or working on any commissions. I hope all goes nice and smoothly and as painlessly as possible... but you never know when it comes to moving day!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Killer Caipirinhas

My mother-in-law is back in town, which always means trouble of some sorts. The last time she was visiting, trouble took the shape of mass quantities of sugar frosted sweets.

This time, trouble is taking the form of the zippy Brazilian beverage known as the Caipirinha (pronounced


In the two and a half months since she stayed with us last, my MIL has been backpacking all over South America. The gift she brought back for us was a lovely bottle of
cachaça (pronounced KA SHA SA) which is a national product of Brazil. In the US, cachaça is labeled as Brazilian rum, but it differs from most rums as it is made from sugarcane juice, rather than molasses. Cachaça has a rich history dating back over 400 years. The Caipirinha is Brazil's hottest drink made with it.

As avid history lovers, Will and I were more than happy to partake in this exotic cocktail. So, without further ado, my MIL put on the CD she bought in Peru and got busy crushing limes and ice.

To make a Caipirinha, you need:

2 ounces of cachaça

sugar to taste

lime slices


The ingredients are always crushed together in a glass using the blunt end of a wooden spoon or a wooden pestle made specifically for this task. Its pretty simple and you can alter how sweet or sour you want it to be by adding (or not) more sugar.

If you want to make this drink, but don't have
cachaça handy, there are other variations. A Caipirissima is like the Caipirinia, but mixed with rum instead of cachaça. And if you use vodka, you will have a Caipiroshka.

Go ahead and give it a try. As the weather warms up, there is nothing quite like the zesty and sweet taste of a Caipirinha!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baby Beautician

She's ready for her close up, Mr. DeMille.

Gracie is three, going on thirteen. I can't imagine what the make-up battle is going to be like when she hits her teen years. Right now, I think she is winning. She might dress herself up to look like a raccoon on acid, but she certainly has the sneaking make-up routine down perfect.

You know kids are up to something when you call out, "Honey, what are you doing?" and you get "Nothing" as the response. Nothing, of course, always means "cutting my hair," "strangling my sister," "sneaking the potty-training candy" or "eating your toothpaste."

Why can't they just say so in the first place?

Today, "nothing" meant "slathering thick and sticky grape flavored lip gloss onto my eyelids." And when I saw her face, Gracie gave me a winning smile and said, "I look like a princess."

Sure she does.

I don't know. I think she looks kinda retro seventies. A little vintage glamor girl. Too bad the lip gloss is as thick and sticky as war paint. I think we will be staying in for the next few days, because after wiping and wiping and wiping some more, her eyes are now all red and the purple has soaked into the skin giving her a nice bruised look. I'm not really prepared to have child protective services question my mothering abilities.

For all of you who love make up as much as my three year old, here are some things my might enjoy from some fabulous Etsy shops.

This Smootches handkerchief from Avril Loreti is the perfect thing to blot your lips.

These gorgeous lipsticks from Mineral Magic's shop are intended for the lips, not the eyelids. I'll have to let Gracie know that if I ever get her some, one day far, far away. But they are such beautiful colors! And all of the make-up pictures in this shop are smokin hot!

Looking for the hottest coin purse around? Look no further than Lindy Lou. This pink lipstick coin purse is just the thing you need for ... well, your coins. And probably a tube of lipstick.

Plus, Lindy Lou happens to be my mom. Holler!

And when it is time to wash your face clean, these oh so soft minky dot face cloths and make up remover pads from Antoinette's Boutique are perfect!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Putting on My Big Girl Pants

I'm not very good at taking chances. Not a quality I admire in myself, thats for sure. When asked to describe myself, I don't generally say things like, "chicken" or "total coward."

But I definitely am.

Some of you readers might remember when I was first toying with the idea of opening Elegant Snobbery. It feels like a life time ago when I had knots in my stomach about whether to post a picture of my first snob for my blog readers to see (here). That was only just mid-December! If it wasn't for the encouragement of my blog readers, I don't know if I would have been able to take that leap and open up my Etsy shop. I just would have been too scared.

My confidence in myself has improved in the last couple of months. Its nice to know that there are people who have my artwork hanging up in their house. A little shocking, as I was never totally convinced that I would be more than just a girl who likes to draw, despite the fact that being an artist has always been what I dreamed of... But I do want to be successful and with every new illustration I draw and every picture that is purchased from my shop, I feel like I am finally reaching my goal.

Needless to say, I was completely appalled with myself when, after reading Macaroni and Glue's blog post about her Trunkt portfolio being accepted, I congratulated her and then went on to say that I could never apply to Trunkt, because I am such a coward. I just sat there for a few minutes, looking at my comment on her blog and thinking, "Well, Marisa, you don't deserve to ever be a success with an attitude like that."

So guess what I did? I put together a portfolio of my own and submitted it without ever giving myself a chance to look back, to ask questions, to doubt... and I got accepted!

I am, of course, excited beyond words. I feel honored to have my work up next to artists that I have admired for months and months. But mostly, I'm proud of myself for taking a leap and not being a total coward. Now, I am actually wondering what giant leap I'll be taking next.

Funny thing is, it doesn't feel so scary.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday on a Budget

In my family, we love to celebrate birthdays. Most people do, of course. Who doesn't love parties, cake and ice cream, a chance to celebrate something with people you love... and of course, presents?

Every year, my family celebrates 21 different birthdays (that might not seem like a lot, but I'm not even counting my husband's side of the family). Every month is covered in cake and ice cream, confetti and presents. And every month as our bank account dwindles, I think, "Wow, we spent a lot on those gifts!!"

As our budget is a bit tight, I'm always trying to figure out creative ways to say Happy Birthday with bells and whistles -- and without going broke.

Yesterday, we celebrated three birthdays: My older brother Dan, my teenaged cousin John, and my cousin-in-law, Craig. Three hard-to-shop-for guys.

And my budget: $10 -- total.

Did I stick to it? You bet! And the best part is, they really liked them. Always important when giving gifts from the heart... and for the belly.

I hit up my favorite store on the planet: The Dollar Tree. Between party bags, snacks, and cute Happy Birthday ribbon, I only spent a grand total of $8.

The guys loved their bags, which were instantly ripped into and eaten up, in the quick and careless way that only guys are born with.

I think I just might do gifts like this for everyone, all the time.

Especially during the holidays, when, in addition to all the winter birthdays, we celebrate Christmas. Thats 21 gifts to buy all at once. Talk about brutal.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

For the Love of Sisters

When I see Gracie and Annelie playing together, I cannot help but smile.

I never had a sister, just a big brother who tortured me and teased me and did all the rotten things that big brothers do. When I knew I was having another girl, I couldn't help but cry. I was so happy that Gracie would have a sweet little sister to love and cherish, to share toys with and play dress up with, have tea parties with and play soccer with. And I was so happy that little Annelie would have an adoring big sister who never teased and never tortured and never did the rotten things big brothers do...

Who was I kidding?

Gracie loves her little sister. She especially loves to take away her toys, pour water on her head, steal her snacks, and wake her up when she is sleeping.

And of course, dump enormous quantities of sand on her head.

Enormous quantities.

Lucky for me, Gracie also loves to take baths with her sister.

And luckier still, Annelie is very, very forgiving, quick to get over things, and always up for a bath with her big sister.

I had friends back in school who despised their sisters. They fought like cats, stole each other's clothes, and sabotaged each other's dates.

I also had friends whose sisters were their best friends. They played sports with each other, went to the mall with each other, and always watched each others backs.

I'm hoping that by the time Annelie is old enough to stick up for herself, Gracie will have outgrown the torture game. And I'm holding my breath that they will one day fall into the latter category -- love, respect, and most of all be best friends with each other.


When Nan and I were little
we sometimes used to fight:
she'd read my secret diary
and I would scratch and bite.

If she pulled up the window shade
I would want it down;
if she wore short pajamas
I'd wear a long nightgown.

But then we learned it's better
to have a sister-friend,
someone beside you in the dark,
someone to hold your hand.

Now we're glad my hair is long
and hers is short and curled.
The difference doesn't matter:
we're two against the world.

by Ruth Whitman

In the meantime, I know I have a lot of work ahead of me!

Funny how the bathtub has more sand than the sandbox ever did! Of course, besides cleaning up messy, tortured little sisters, I also have to clean the bathtub. Thanks, Gracie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Illustration Friday: Fail

Frogboy and the Witch

I fail to see a good ending to this unusual and uncomfortable situation!!

This Illustration Friday topic was a little challenging for me. I sketched and sketched and sketched some more... but was never happy with anything.

After ransacking my old portfolio, I came across the picture of the little frog boy, which I had drawn nine years ago. I had never given him a background to tell his story and that always bothered me. I knew that his expression told of a very grave situation which would be the perfect thing for the topic of 'Fail', and I was more than willing to be inspired to complete this painting. The ominous forest and the foul looking witch with her bubbling cauldron was just what the little frog boy illustration needed.

It took me a few tries until I was happy, but here is completed picture. This illustration is made with colored pencil on acrylic painted vintage text and sheet music collaged onto bristol board. It measures 11 x 14.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bathing Beauty

Since discovering Etsy, I have become very hygiene happy.

Granted, I have always loved pampering myself. Looking back at my life before kids, its hard for me to believe that I used to buy expensive shampoos and conditioners, moisturizers from the makeup counters of Nordstrom, essential oils from fancy spas, and body polishes and fizzy bath bombs from luxurious bath boutiques.

Now, I can barely remember a time when bubble baths were for me, not my girls. Or when I actually used a body product that cost more than a few nickels and dimes from Target. Since having kids, my beauty products have been taken over with tear-less shampoos, diaper rash cream, and antibacterial hand sanitizers.

Lately on Etsy, I have been getting back into the luxurious bath time experience again. Only this time around, I'm not spending a fortune.

And better yet --- I am happier with my products than I have ever been before. The quality, the scents, and the beauty of the bath and body items I have found on Etsy completely outrank the products at the Nordstrom counter.

The first body treat I bought was a container of Sugar Rush Soap Souffle from Lollibomb. This stuff is the most decadent, sugary-sweet, bubbly body wash I have ever in my life used. It smells like heaven wrapped up in cotton candy, and then dipped in vanilla that has been infused with caramel. And then wrapped up in a cute little goodie box with pink polkadots.


Before I opened up my Rosemary Mint soap from 4th Ave. Soap Co, I couldn't believe a soap could be beautiful. But the shimmery green soap, and the fresh scent is unlike any other!

I almost feel bad using a soap like this one, as it is just too lovely.

When I knew my grandmother, aunt and uncle were all having birthdays within a few days of each other, I couldn't resist treating them all to some 4th Ave soaps of their own.

I took a crochet class so that I could crochet some gorgeous spa washcloths to go with them... but I failed miserably. Luckily, the soaps make a fabulous gift on their own.

When Gracie is all done using the potty (let me just say that I hate potty training passionately), she gets to wash her hands with these adorable ducky baby powder scented soaps from A Breath of French Air...

... and these super sweet and fruity Lego soaps from Sweet Spice. For Gracie, washing hands is almost better than her lollipop bribe for using the potty.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sweet Spice's Tiny Tushies Ointment = the most wonderful, miracle-worker diaper ointment on the planet.

I bought the sampler pack of Tooth Chips, from Rose of Sharon Acres, not knowing what in the world I was purchasing. I had heard that they were wonderful, so I was willing to try them out. I'm glad I did, because we are all in love with them.

I'm telling ya, these Tooth Chips get your teeth clean! Goodbye slimy morning teeth and the breath that follows. You'll feel like you have just gotten back from the dentist (after a cleaning, not a root canal) and the clean feeling lasts all day long!

What guy would turn down the lather of a soap made from Guinness? Not my brother, who was thrilled with his manly man soap from Dennis Anderson's shop.

My MIL was also thrilled with the Rose scented shampoo bar we also bought from Dennis Anderson, which she took with her on her two month trek through South America. The perfect gift for the traveling vagabond!!

And take a look at this:


My 12 year old cousin flipped out over GudonyaToo's Floap (Soap that Floats) in Chocolate Truffle with Raspberry Sprinkles, that she received from me, with a set of wash cloths I made with Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipops fabric. The floap smells as good as it looks. Trust me. Their Baby Legs shave bars are fantastic, too!

My armpits smell. They really do. Of CHAI TEA!!!

I bought this deodorant from South Pacific Body because I was just so sick of smelling like Tropical Breeze (whatever the heck that is supposed to smell like) and Caribbean Blast (ditto) or whatever uninspiring scent I could pick up from Target. I wanted something unique and hopefully wonderful. I have not been let down. This deodorant smells just like Chai Tea -- and the smell lasts for about 12 hours per application. I kid you not. I even saw Will sneaking some onto his own underarms when he didn't think I was looking. Not because he couldn't find his own Old Spice, but because he loved the smell of mine so much!

Okay, I am tired of showing off all my goodies. But I hope you may have discovered something wonderful for yourself while reading this.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Illustration Friday: Save

Be kind to the plants and animals - of our land
Be kind to the plants and animals - of our land
Be kind to the plants and animals - of our land
We’ve got the whole world in our hands

To love and care for the earth means that we will be able to enjoy it for generations.

-- Daria A. Marmaluk-Hajioannou

It was easy coming up with an illustration based off this week's Illustration Friday topic: Save. Of course I immediately think of the obvious -- save the world-- but I have been wanting to create an illustration with that theme for some time now, and this was just the push I needed.

"In Our Hands" was illustrated with colored pencils on acrylic and vintage sheet music. It measures 10 x 10 in.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pinkie-Pie the Precocious Princess

As far as Gracie is concerned, dress up is a way of life. Its not a game, its not just pretend, its just what she does. Of course she gets it from me. I'm all glitz and glimmer myself. But like any three year old with a passion, Gracie takes it to the extreme.

Lately, Pinkie-Pie has been trying to rule the roost. The hot pink Rastafarian diva is silly, stylish, and a little too sassy for her own good. Hands on her hips, she often shouts, "Its time to watch The Little Mermaid, RIGHT NOW!" or "No, I WONT put my toys away. I don't LIKE cleany uppie time!"

Needless to say, Pinkie-Pie is often on time out.

Pinkie-Pie also has a best friend, who she loves to chat with on her Disney princess purple phone.

"Oh hello, Hannah Montana. Hahaha, that is so funny!" she chuckles to herself while admiring her pink polished fingernails.

***Let me just say that in our house, the only TV shows watched are those on PBS. How Pinkie Pie discovered the Disney phenomenon that is Hannah Montana is beyond me. But somehow, my three -- going on thirteen-- year old is a huge fan.

Gracie is never without a pretty dress. She wears skirts that twirl to play in the sand box. Fancy, frilly dresses are worn on walks with Daddy. Layers and layers of pink tulle are in place while at the post office with Grandma.

Fingernails -- painted
Lips -- glossed with BonneBell
Perfume -- vanilla bean body spray
Twirly skirt -- check

Will is still holding onto the dream of Gracie being the first girl to play rugby for Wales -- -which she might one day do. How am I to know what the future holds for this precocious little diva? --- But I'm pretty positive that if she does play rugby for Wales...

... my little Pinkie-Pie will probably be out on that pitch wearing a ruffled twirly skirt and some patent leather Mary-Janes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Daddy Roller Coasters

Daddy is better than Disneyland.

The wild swirling, twirling up in the sky, twisting all around and turning until sick types of play is what makes Will the best daddy in the world in the eyes of Gracie and Annelie.

Practical and precautious me usually freaks out and hovers around, shouting, "Watch her head,"

"She just finished eating! Don't make her sick!"

"She's too high, she'll get scared!"

But of course, Will just ignores me and swings her higher.

Do the girls mind? Not one bit.

And when I see the fun, the laughter, the big eyes wide with excitement only Daddy can create, I have to turn a blind eye to the messy-looking laundry pile (clean, of course) and the laundry basket now filled with two wildly laughing little girls.

Yes, I hope Will is going to put the laundry back in the basket when they are done playing (or better yet, help me fold it and put it away).

Of course I know that he wont (guys just don't seem to think like that, do they?).

Sometimes, you just gotta ignore the mess and enjoy the laughter because, while dance parties, tea parties and cookie baking belong to me, rough-housing, rugby, and roller coasters are all for Daddy.

And that is what makes Daddy so special.

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