Sunday, September 28, 2008

I *Heart* WCMD!

The big day is almost here! Paper Crafts' third annual World Card Making Day is only six days away! Yep, on Saturday, October 4, 2008 card makers around the world will unite in creativity!

Doesn't my job sound cool?! We INVENT holidays! Once upon a time, we literally sat around a conference table and said, "Let's establish a day where people can come together to celebrate the art of handmade cards. We'll hold it in early October and it will officially kick off the holiday card making season - the most popular time for creating and sharing handmade greetings."

And the rest is history...

Now in our third year (did I mention that already?), the official WCMD Web Site offers ideas for getting involved. From participating retailers to card ideas to its very own online gallery (where anyone can post their creations!), the fun is right at your fingertips!

To spread the word, I've joined the WCMD Blog Tour where 50 of our designers and PC editors are giving away two copies of Cards, Gifts & More: Paper Crafting 3 Ways on their crafty blogs.

So on Saturday, October 4, I will randomly select two people to win this very fun special issue! But I warn you, while this is a giveaway, you'll have to work for it...

1. How many U.S. households participate is card making?

2. What percentage of scrapbookers also make cards?

3. What is the top occasion/theme for making cards?

Visit the WCMD web site (About Section) to find the answers to these questions. Post them in the comment field with your name and e-mail addy and you could be one of my lucky winners!

Happy WCMD!

P.S. I celebrated WCMD a little early this year. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I show off the cards I made in my most recent card group. Hint: 3o cards @ 5 a.m. = one very cranky PK! (I actually incorporated gingham into one of my designs, so you know it's bad!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Long Time Coming!

This past Tuesday I was promoted from associate editor to editor. And while it seems my title has significantly gone down in syllables, I'm now spearheading our online initiatives, which means I get to focus my attention on a specific area and hopefully leave a positive mark on it.

And while all of the congrats and well wishes were going around the office, this particular e-mail came right at the end of the day - right when it needed to.

Kelly my love, I am so proud of you!
You totally rock my world. Speaking of rocking,
wanna come over this weekend and play my
Bongo drums? (Clothing optional of course)!

Much love - Matt

Thank you Joannie McBride for sharing my borderline stalker fascination with this man! Yes, he's a little crazy of late... Perhaps he's banged on one too many bongos. But at least he keeps true to his motto - "J.K. Livin". Perhaps we should all throw caution to the wind and "dance like no one's watching!"


Monday, September 22, 2008

Pink + Orange=Paradise

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the wedding of a close girlfriend in beautiful San Diego, CA. And while I've blogged about it at work (how fun is my job!), I didn't want to overwhelm our readers with a lot of pictures - even if they are pretty cool if I do say so myself!

So since I've already told the story, I'm just going to post a series of pictures from the impossibly magical wedding of Mrs. Ann Nixon Merrill. (BTW, Ann is a seriously gifted interior designer, so if you're in the market or just want to look at some amazing designs, check out Nixon Interiors.)

So our three-day stay in paradise began with our introduction to the "beach house". Loaned to Ann's family for the weekend, it's backyard was literally the Pacific Ocean. The girls (left to right: me, Sarah, Jeana, Ann, and Jocelyn) really want to go back to that reality!

Yep, those are the stairs from the house leading down to the actual OCEAN! Here Jeana and Jocelyn are flexing their muscles as they get ready to catch some waves. Both girls actually stood up for a bit! (I attempted to surf, but never really got the hang of it. But, "A" for effort!)

After a long morning of surfing (probably 45 minutes tops!), we decided to do something that required zero athletic ability or stamina - laying out!

After soaking up the sun, we all "got pretty" and posed for this picture before the sun went down.

And what a gorgeous sunset it was!

And then the real fun began! This is the "establishment" where we held Ann's "Girls Go Wild" Bachelorette party. We went to Wal-Mart that morning and bought glow-in-the-dark butterfly tiaras, heart-shaped sunglasses and plenty of Mardi Gras beads!

From the moment we arrived, Ann had quite the fan club of adoring men. (I actually spent awhile talking to the guy on the right. Nice guy, but my heart sank a little when he told me he was 22. What's ten years? Let's see... When I was getting my driver's license, he was six!)

One guy was so taken with Ann, he even took off his shirt! ( I swear we didn't even have to pay him to do this! I just really hope Ann's new husband doesn't see this! Oops! Too late!)

And while we were at Wal-Mart, we just happened to pick Ann up some essentials for her honeymoon! You're welcome, Ann!

Aren't we dang cute in our butterfly tiaras! We raised our glasses for a final toast and then hopped in our carriages before the clock struck twelve. The next day was the "big" day!

And here's the gorgeous LDS temple in San Diego where Ann became Mrs. Merrill!

Fresh from their "I Do's"! (BTW, Ann's mother made her gorgeous wedding dress!)

Here the girls and I pose for a picture on the temple grounds. If you're wondering how the pink and orange fit in, those were Ann's wedding colors. Very appropriate for a summer wedding!

And then came the wedding cake... I consider myself a pretty adventurous person, but when Ann's mother asked us 15 minutes before the reception started if we would decorate "the cake", I seriously thought the woman had lost her mind. But, luckily the cake decorating gods were with us that evening and our masterpiece was unveiled to many "oohs" and "aahs"!

Jeana and I were so impressed with our mad cake decorating skills, we considered posing for autographs, but didn't want to steal the spotlight from our dear bride.

And this beautiful destination wedding was capped off with a beautiful dance between husband and wife. Ann, thanks so much for including me in your magical wedding! I think we've found our next location for Girls Retreat 2009!

Love you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Little Tea Party

(Words by Irving Caesar, Music by Vincent Youmans. 1924)

"Picture you
Upon my knee
Just tea for two
And two for tea,
Just me for you
And you for me. "

Last April, my cousin Debbie and her "little" girl McCall came to Salt Lake City for a visit. Named after our family's favorite getaway in Idaho (see my blog post below), McCall now goes by the adorable pet name of Little. It was Princess Little when she was first born, but like all nicknames that stick, it was eventually shortened over time. And so Little it is!

Before Debbie arrived in town, she called and asked if I would mind babysitting Little while she and the grown-ups attended a play. I typically shy away from babysitting toddlers (especially on a Friday night!), but suddenly visions of combing hair and painting tiny little fingernails was just too good to pass up!

Since Debbie was going to be in Orem for the night, she dropped Little off at my aunt's nearby home. It had been six months since I had last seen Little, so I was expecting her to run the other way when she saw me. (Isn't that what most two-year-olds do when Mom drops them off at a stranger's house?) But quite the opposite occurred. I walked through the front door and she literally jumped in my arms and stayed by my side for the rest of the evening.

As a side note, I should probably mention that Debbie is quite the baker. Her specialty is cupcakes. All kinds, all flavors - they're all deliciously sinful and loaded with love. While she didn't bring her own yummy confections on this visit, she did bring a box of gourmet cupcakes from a little bakery in Scottsdale, AZ, where she lives. What was truly amazing was I just happened to bring the miniature tea set that I got for my birthday. So between the gourmet cupcakes and the pint size tea set, how could we not hold the grandest tea party in all the land?

Here's Little posing in front of her very own tea party. For scale, notice how big the cupcakes are compared to the tiny teacups and saucers!

And here's Little sampling her delectable tea, aka milk. She kept saying,"More tea, please!"

She wasn't too keen on being fed her cupcake. Like all big girls, I mean ladies, she wanted to feed herself...

And so she went for it! Perhaps not the most lady-like, but she's got plenty of time to perfect her etiquette skills.

And like all tea parties, the most important thing is to enjoy one another's company and LAUGH!

Little, I can't wait until our next tea party! Maybe I'll even introduce you to my favorite "tea"! It's a little more bubbly, but it will definitely make you smile!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my dear old Mom's birthday! Since I couldn't be in Texas to celebrate it with her, I sent along a little care package with a few of her favorite things. I'm big into making mixed Cd's, so I included my most recent compilation amongst her gifts. Little did I know, but when I called to wish her a "Happy Birthday", she said, "How did you know 'Say' (John Mayer) is one of my favorite songs?" I replied, "I'm just that good, Mom!" (Actually 'Say' is one of my favorite songs too, so it was a lucky guess!)

My sisters and Dad took Mom to lunch and then Holly and her spent the rest of the afternoon as "ladies of leisure" at the spa. (I'm still trying to figure out how Holly wormed her way into that perk!) Later, Laurie gave my Mom one of the pictures my cousin's wife took at our recent family reunion. Getting three girls to smile on cue (but not look forced) is a serious talent! Not to mention, it's rare that we actually ALL like the same photo, so bravo Cristi!

BTW, I have to give props to Stace Hasegawa, our brilliant art director at Paper Crafts. She was nice enough to Photoshop our unruly flyaway hair. It was extremely windy that day!

Here we are on the boat dock looking out to the lake. It was only later that we realized Holly left her jacket on. Oops!

While this is not the most flattering picture of myself (two words: food baby), it's a really cute one of my sisters.

Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Lake House

We're entering my favorite season... Fall. At least it's my favorite season in Utah. If I were still living in Texas, I would probably say Spring, but that's because there's only two seasons in Texas - Hot and Hotter. (Bad joke!)

A few years ago, my Dad got tired of the hustle and bustle of city life (more like suburban life) and decided to purchase a little lake house out in East Texas. Located two hours from Dallas, it was just far enough to get away, yet not too far.

The little town he moved to was called Avinger. Complete with dusty, country roads and one functioning stop light, the town boasted a "Welcome to Avinger" sign that read Pop: 486. When my sisters and I first saw it, we whispered to each other, "Toto, I don't think we're going to find a mall here."

But we adjusted. And over time, we grew to love this little lake house with the back porch that overlooked the lake and surrounding forest. And when the holidays came around, this was the first place we wanted to come to relax, unwind and recharge.

This is one of my all-time favorite family photos. I believe this was Thanksgiving 2002 and my Mom made us wear red and green sweaters for the Christmas photo she was hoping to capture. We're actually sitting on my Dad's sail boat that he christened "Trop De Filles." If any of you know French, it means "Too Many Women."

And since my Dad is a captain for American Airlines and "the captain" of his boat, we saluted him properly.

Here my sisters and I are having our own "King of the World" moment.

Here Holly and I are rocking the red sweaters! She had just cut her hair to play an extra in the Julia Roberts movie "Mona Lisa Smile". Set at an all-girls college in the 1950's, she literally had to embrace the bob. When she told the producers she didn't want to cut her long locks, they said, "Either you cut your hair or we'll find someone who will." And so she did.

Even Lexus made an appearance at the lake house from time to time. She wasn't too keen about the water, but she loved to roam and breathe in all the clean, country air!

I just took a drive up Provo Canyon last Sunday. While I saw a few pockets of color, it's still a little too early for the bright golds, reds and oranges that will surely blanket the mountains. Until then, I'm enjoying the shorter days, the cooler temperatures and the promise that Fall is right around the corner.


Monday, September 8, 2008

P is for Puppy

Many of you know that I recently became a mother for the first time. I "inherited" my cousin's Italian Greyhound, who goes by the name of Lexus. What you may not know is Lexus and I go way back...

I still remember the day her mom and dad brought her home. She was actually a present for her Daddy's 25th birthday. Apparently the minute they locked eyes, there was no turning back.

Yep, that's little Lexus cradled in Ryan's arms. She really was THAT small!

Over the next few months, we all fell in love with our little girl, who affectionately became "Lex-Pup". Ryan even wrote Lexus her very own theme song. It went something like this:

"P is for puppy, she's good enough for me.
P is for puppy, she's good enough for me.
P is for puppy, she's good enough for me...
Puppy, puppy, puppy starts with P!"

This is what happens when 20-somethings are bored and come across a pair of bunny ears!

And even though we were entertained, Lexus quickly became bored with all of our antics!

So bored that she actually fell asleep!

When Deb was pregnant a few years back, Ryan painted her tummy to look like a pumpkin. Lexus joined in on the Halloween fun and dressed up like a witch.

I think she plays the role a little too well. There's a sinister look in those eyes!

And then she was a devil another year. Hmm... Witch, devil - should I be worried?

And while I do harbor some guilt over my part in the "dress-up" years, my one assurance that life is okay for this little dog is her unnatural but healthy love affair with a stuffed monkey. He goes by the name Rafiki. You many remember him from The Lion King. He got rave reviews, but that lame lion cub completely stole his thunder. Anyway, I digress... From the moment my mom brought out Rafiki, Lexus' life has never been the same. They play together, watch TV together, snuggle together and they even do something else together. Well, Rafiki doesn't really have a say about it, but he's always wearing a smile!

So fast, so quick, Lex-Pup is always on the go.
She dances through life with her Rafiki in tow.

She jumps, she barks, she kisses with tongue.
Who knew loving Lex-Pup would be so much fun!


Friday, September 5, 2008

We Are Family!

I just got back from one of the most beautiful places on earth. Idaho. Yep, I said I-D-A-H-O. I know what you're thinking - "potato country", right? Let me assure you, Idaho is so much more...

My family descended upon the little resort town of McCall for a long overdue family reunion over Labor Day weekend. Located 100 miles north of Boise, it's "happily situated" on the picturesque shore of Payette Lake and Payette National Forest.

Known for its outdoor recreation, my family has been coming to this little piece of heaven since 1989. My aunt and uncle own a condo here and graciously invite us up every few years to recharge our batteries and come together for some good ol' fashion family fun.

And what could be more fun than a game of chicken?

And nothing bonds a family together like a little competition. My cousins were all channeling Michael Phelps here. Check out the goggles!

Even my 10-year-old cousin Carter enjoyed getting a "lift" from his three older cousins Taylor, Tanner and Brooks.

Here's me and my sisters Holly and Laurie taking a dip.

My Dad and I even took the kayaks out for a little exercise.

But we also found time to chill. Here's Tanner's girlfriend Darlene, Brooks' wife Cristi and Laurie hanging out on the boat dock.

And of course food always plays an important role in any Smith-Dame reunion. (Especially since my cousins are training to take on Michael Phelps at the 2012 Olympics!)

Here's a cute picture of Tanner and Taylor Dame. Taylor is single, ladies!

Unfortunately by Sunday the cold weather blew in, but we enjoyed attending church together and then posing for this family picture. (Notice I'm missing a sister here. Holly was taking a nap and just couldn't be bothered.)

Even Lexus joined us for all the family fun. Here Brooks and Cristi are reviewing some basic commands she learned at puppy obedience school. "Sit, Lexus. Good dog!"

Probably the cutest thing to witness was the "bro-mance" that developed between Carter and Taylor. From four wheeling, to jet skiing to sharing a stack of pancakes, these boys were inseparable!

Even though we were missing a few family members, a good time was had by all. One of the highlights was having Brooks' wife Cristi (photographer extraordinaire) take a family picture and then some candids of me and my sisters. As soon as I get my hot little hands on them, I'll be sure to share them with you. Speaking of pictures, one of my favorite pictures was actually taken in McCall two years ago. Isn't the scenery just breathtaking?

If any of you are scouting locations for your next family reunion, I highly recommend McCall, Idaho. If I can survive two 7-hour car rides with a rambunctious 10-year-old and a even more rambunctious dog, you know it must be worth it. And if you're still convinced Idaho is just "potato country", you know what? It is, but it's so much more...