Friday, August 30, 2013

One HUNDREDTH Post! (And Giveaway!)

Welp, it's been a little over four years since I started this blog and I'm just reaching my hundredth post. On average, that ends up being about 25 posts a year. Pretty pitiful.

I've recently been really into being more active on my blog (if you haven't noticed) so maybe the next hundred posts won't take me another four years! Haha.

I've found it to be therapeutic, and a great escape when I need one to just write about what's been going on, especially lately, in my life. My best friend Danica has really utilized her blog to not only share her running knowledge and experiences but also to share about her extraordinary loss, in losing her mother. She was the one that really pushed me to get out my post about Lexie and my grandmother and I'm glad that I did. But, enough about me, lets get to the exciting stuff!

To celebrate my 100th post I'm giving out a $100 gift card to my favorite place, Target! Yes, you read that right.... one HUNDRED dollars, a dollar for every post!

Now for the rules...
A comment on this post counts as one entry.
A "like" on my Not So Cli-Shea facebook page counts as one entry.
A follow on either my @notsoclishea or @sheacrystal twitter each count as one entry.
If you SHARE this post (either by tweeting about it or sharing it on your blog, on facebook, or on instagram) it counts as TWO entries. (But be SURE to tag me so that I know you did it)

Entries will stop being accepted on Monday September 9th (9/9, easy to remember, right?) at 12:00 AM.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This is my first time using Rafflecopter. I've heard it makes hosting giveaways super easy. Hopefully it actually does because I'm super excited about this giveaway and super excited to see who is going to win it!*

Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time Flies When You're Havin' Fun

So there was this guy that was a year older than me in junior high that I thought was super cute. When I got to high school and saw him in baseball pants I thought he was even cuter. I even referred to him as "my husband" to my friends. Of course, he had no idea, and wouldn't for years. 

Fast forward to summer of 2011

That's right... it all started with a facebook message. 

I remember going out the first time and telling him that I "didn't believe in relationships" and I "wasn't looking for a boyfriend". I think at first he thought wow, he'd met the perfect girl, a no strings attached girl. Haha. But then feelings started to develop and the no relationship thing really started to bother him. And then, eventually, it even began to bother me. Today marks two years of me finally saying yes to being this crazy kids' girlfriend. We've had our ups and downs but it's sure been a fun ride. 

Happy Anniversary, Poop!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Up Against the Wall

It's no secret. 
I love gallery walls. 
I love the idea of having a collection of all your favorite things all in one place. 
And, as OCD and detail oriented as I am, I actually prefer the mismatched frames and the random placement vs. the all the same frame, all the same size all in perfect placement.

In my room I more-so have a collection of colors that I love. As you can see with my use of embroidery hoops and fabric. I guess I'm kind of scared to commit to anything in my bedroom because I tend to change the decor often. 
(Beamer usually approves though. Haha)
I tend to gather little things I like from place to place. A few months back I ordered two custom canvas prints from Easy Canvas Prints of my dogs. Unfortunately they arrived after I lost my little Lexie but it made the print that much more special. I was so in love with them that I just threw them up on the wall haphazardly on just some random nails I had hanging and this was the result.
 As you can see the spacing is off and things are crooked and I kept telling myself I'd get around to it but never did, until last night, I finally did!

Looking back I really should have taken photos during the process but, like a kid, I was just so excited to get everything up on the wall that I, of course didn't.

Using a similar technique as was used here I chose all of my favorite pieces and traced them onto newspaper. (Side note: I wouldn't recommend newspaper because it's messy, it was just what I had so it worked.) Cut out the traced newspaper. Marked where the nails should be placed. Figured out how I wanted everything by taping it up on the wall. SO much easier than hanging and then deciding you don't like it. The three pieces that I really wanted as the focal pieces were my OSHEAGA poster and my two prints of my dogs. So they were the first to be placed. The OSHEAGA poster was placed in the middle of the wall and then I worked from the inside out to figure out the placement of everything else. Once I was happy, in went the nails and up went the prints! And voila!

I couldn't be happier with the results! I literally sat on the couch just staring at the wall for like 20 minutes after we finished because I loved it so much. And I love the incorporation of my two angels, my Lexie and my grandma. My big fear now is finding more artwork that I like! Haha. I guess that's why there are so many walls in a house!

(1. Avocado painting by my friend Heather Kent. // 2. Dachshund silhouette that I bought at the OC fair. I believe Leslie Stone was the artist. // 3. Mirror in a gold frame that I picked up from Goodwill for $5.99 (I actually bought two of them but only ended up using one). Originally it was meant to be hung vertically but we took the hook off and replaced it so that it could be hung horizontally. // 4. "S", not actually sure where I bought it but I'm sure from Marshall's or something like that. // 5. "Love Is What It's All About" print from Home Goods. // 6. Canvas print of Beamer from Easy Canvas Prints. // 7. A hand painted nature scene painted by my grandmother that I found while putting things together for her memorial. She was an incredible artist with a very special gift. // 8. Sprinkles cupcakes. My roommate is obsessed with Sprinkles cupcakes. Her friend painted this for her for her birthday one year. // 9. "The Long and Short of it" dachshund print, I believe from Target. // 10. My Lexie canvas print from Easy Canvas Prints. 11. My limited edition (only 400 printed) Osheaga poster, numbered and signed by artist Pat Hamou.)

I'm SO happy with the way it turned out. It makes the room feel warmer and more put together. I also really like how it does a great job camouflaging my thermostat. It even looks almost like it's part of the collage!

Next time maybe I'll actually remember to document what I'm doing because that would definitely make for a better blog post! Haha.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Merry ChrismAugust!!

I have party planning in my blood. I swear. I get it from my grandma. She always loved hosting parties and loved getting everything just right, down to the very last detail. That couldn't be more me. I'll use any excuse to throw a party, so much so that last weekend I INVENTED a reason to! Haha. 

It's always so hard to throw a successful holiday party, regardless of what holiday it may be, simply because there are generally so many other parties being had. Like take Christmas, Fourth of July, or Halloween for example. There are only so many weekends in every month and so the possible party dates fill up fast. So, that's where my idea of "ChristmAugust" was born. "Christmas in July" parties have become increasingly more popular, however, I had a very busy July and thus "ChristmAugust" came to fruition (Plus, I even like the name better).

The first thing that I knew was that I HAD to have a photo backdrop. It's just what I do as you can see here...
Danica's 21st Birthday Party
And here:
Danica's Bachelorette Party
Lucky for me the red and white striped tablecloth that I used for Danica'a "Boats N Hoes" themed Bachelorette party was perfect for a Christmas themed party also! I made a "Merry ChristmAugust" banner, got the ole artificial tree out of the garage and viola! The perfect ChristmAugust photo backdrop!
Several months back I downloaded "Pocketbooth", a photobooth app on my iPad but never really got the chance to use it. This party was the perfect setting! It's great because it takes the photostrip (3 or 4 photos, whichever you decide) and once you're done it give you the option to post it to your facebook, your twitter, or to e-mail it. I don't think there is a person alive that doesn't like photobooths and if there is, I feel really sad for that person. It takes the photos with the front facing camera so that you get the chance to see yourself, however, I think the front facing camera (like the one on the iPhone as well) isn't the greatest quality and makes the photos look a little grainy. Nonetheless, the photobooth was a hit as you can see. 
(most of the photobooth props bought at Alin Party Supply
I had two "signature cocktails" for the event. I wanted a red drink and a green drink, obviously to keep with the Christmas theme. The two drinks were:

"Rudolph’s Shiny Red Cocktail" 
(which I found (and adapted from) here)
·     2 oz Vodka
·     1/2 cup Cranberry Juice
·     1/2 cup Sparkling White Grape Juice
·     “Cranberries” for garnish.

and my own invention, the
 "Pine Tree Punch"
·     1 oz Vodka
·     1 oz Midori melon liqueur
·     Fill with chilled Sprite
·     “Cranberries” for garnish. 

Obviously cranberries aren't in season so I made due with champagne grapes which are a smaller version of grapes and actually look kiiiiiind of like cranberries. Close enough.

Of course, I forgot to take some good "before photos" so I snapped a few the day after the party to get the gist of the decor.
I adore making my front table festive because it's the first thing people see when they walk in. 
Stockings are from a tutorial I posted here
Pretty much everything in my house is from one of four places: Target, Home Goods, Marshalls or Ikea in case you were wondering.

We had a fun white elephant gift exchange and I gave out an award for the person who dressed the most festive. I think that everyone had a great time and I can't wait until the 2nd annual ChristmAugust party!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

C-A-N-A-D-eh? (photo heavy)

Three weeks ago I took a, somewhat spontaneous, trip to Canada with my college sorority sister Maryam. Last year I saw the lineup for OSHEAGA and it was incredible. I had never heard of the festival so I looked it up and saw that it was in Montréal, in my head I was like, "Well that settles that. There's no way I'm going to Canada for a music festival". So, fast forward to several months back and I thought to myself "hmm... I wonder who's playing OSHEAGA this year". So I go on the site, the lineup is, of course amazing, as you can see here:
It just so happens that, I went on the OSHEAGA site the day before the tickets went on sale! If you know anything about me, you know that I took that as a sign. Tickets, if I remember correctly were $235 each and I had just received a $400 bonus which, of course, to me, was another sign. So, the next day, I bought two tickets!

Come to find out, long story short, my boyfriend wasn't able to attend and so begun the scramble to find someone willing to go to Canada with me for the festival. Luckily, Miss Maryam is quite the world traveling music enthusiast and, after some thought, gave me an excited "YES!" and the planning begun. 

Maryam decided to use air miles for her flights and I, of course, chose to fly the cheapest that I could soooo we flew separately and while yes, TECHNICALLY I'm an adult, I was a little scared to fly that far on my own. My longest flight (by myself) was from Orange County to San Francisco. Which, is only a little over an hour and I don't feel like really even counts. 
We decided to make the trip Monday-Monday to explore the city a bit before the festival because, if you're going all that way, might as well make a trip out of it. 

My first flight landed in Toronto and had a bit of a rough landing which, of course, got me anxious but I had another flight to catch from Toronto to Montréal. Lucky for me, after we boarded we were told that our plane "failed a battery test" and that it would be about an hour to replace it. Clearly, that gave me plenty of time to psych myself out and convince myself that I was going to die on this plane. Obviously *SPOILER ALERT* I didn't die but I was definitely happy once we landed in Montréal and I didn't have to worry about being on another plane for a week. 

Maryam had already landed, of course, because of my delay, but we found each other easily, hopped in a cab and headed to our hotel. Gouverneur Hotel: Place Dupuis Montreal. I can't say enough great things about our hotel. It was in the perfect location and the staff was extraordinary. When we were looking for hotels three weeks before our trip, I kid you not, EVERY HOTEL was booked for the week (because of the festival I'm assuming). After hours of searching, we booked the Gouverneur reluctantly because it was really, all that was available but it ended up being absolutely perfect. 

We arrived in Montréal a little after dinner time. We took a look outside of our hotel window and saw this sea of pink that we had to check out. Turns out it was for Aires Libres, an artistic event taking place on St. Catherine. It was awesome to see. 

(Photo Credit)
We walked St. Catherine and had dinner at a little sports bar and headed to bed to get ready to spend the next day exploring. 

*I apologize if you're my Facebook friend or if you follow me in Instagram because these are all the same photos (some unfiltered though, lucky you ;) haha)*

We decided to wander St. Catherine during the day and found a cute little cafe to have lunch. 
We also had to stop for a photo op with a crescent that we spotted (our sorority symbol). 

We spent the next few days soaking in as much of the city as we could. Asking locals, like our waitresses what we should do while we were there. We really wanted to see Montréal, not just the tourist attractions. 
It's hard to see but we spotted another crescent (this time, as a street sign).
When in Rome... er... Montréal... I decided to test out poutine. Poutine is a Canadian dish, originally from Quebec, made with french fries, brown gravy and cheese curds. Sounds gross I know, and Maryam was not fond but I tried it and it really wasn't bad and I don't really even like gravy. Trying it just the once was enough for me though.
We decided to hop in a photobooth that was at the metro station and inside it, on the curtain it said "FUCK USA", a little disheartening, but didn't keep up from taking photos. Haha. 

One of my absolute favorite nights was when we wondered over to Old Montréal and found this little pizza place. We ordered a pitcher of sangria and had such a great time chatting and laughing. Our waitress was so wonderful and friendly and gave us great pointers on things to do in the area. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip. 
On Friday (day one of OSHEAGA) I decided to go with a braided alter-ego. 
The weather was perfect and the crowd was great.
Clearly, I cant resist the fun in the fact that OSHEAGA has my name in it. 
Maryam was a flower child on the first day. 
H&M was giving out these "sunglasses" but they couldn't be worn for long without feeling like beer goggles and making you want to throw up. Maryam even handed hers off to another girl because they made her so sick. Haha.
They had these booths set up, I think there were five of them, where you could scan your wristband and it would take your picture and post them to your facebook for you (you just had to register your wristband when you got it). It was pretty cool but the photo angle and quality wasn't the greatest. 
On day two I decided to be a flower child with this crazy over sized flower headband. Haha.

Pretty much as soon as we got there I grabbed a beer. 
The girl that took this photo saw the beer in my hand and said "A beer this early? You're a warrior". Haha. (Mind you it was like noon, maybe 1pm, not THAT early, right? Haha)

When you've got Irish blood in your veins, it's never to early to start drinking. 
We saw this photo frame and couldn't help ourselves but represent where we're from. 
You'd be surprised the reactions we got from people when we told them we came all the way out from LA. They were in shock that we traveled so far. 
Tegan and  Sara were incredible. (As a surprise they also joined Mackelmore when he sang "Same Love" later in the day and, I kid you not, I almost cried. It was so beautiful).
On the third day I decided to just to be myself.
And start the day with a beer of course. Haha. 
Side Note: the drink options were so odd. The choices were, you could buy a beer OR you could buy a shot of Jager or Vodka poured by these girls, standing around and selling them. OR there was wine, but it was like a fruit wine that tasted like Jell-O. So, beer it was.
We got there nice and early on the third day because Twin Forks was starting off the day. If you're unfamiliar, Twin Forks is Chris Carrabba's new band. 
And Chris Carrabba owns my heart.

See what I mean about the quality of these photos?

There was this awesome "Chill Area" to hang out that had free wifi and chairs and hammocks set up for if you needed a break from the crowds or the sun. (or were just looking for a good place to take some pics. Haha.)
It rained a couple of times on the last day but luckily we found this H&M tent that had free wifi AND would print your Instagram photos just so long as you used their hashtag. (Needless to say we printed a LOT of photos)
The DJ they had was pretty amazing.
Beers and lumineers.
Overall the trip was such a great experience and it was good for me to get away and get my mind off of things for awhile. Maryam was a great travel buddy and the gigglefests that we got into were priceless. OSHEAGA was great and the venue was incredible. If it weren't for being on a plane for so long, I'd already be looking into buying tickets to next years festival. As I mentioned in my last post, coming home was pretty hard because, generally, after doing any traveling, I spend the next day on the phone with my grandma telling her all about it and hearing all about her experiences there (She had literally traveled everywhere so no matter where you went, she had stories from there too). I smiled on my flights when things got bumpy and, like I usually do, I told myself "just imagine you're in a bus". We discovered not long before losing my grandma that she did the very same thing on flights! My mom thought it was the weirdest thing. I'm lucky that I share so much with her from my fear of flying, to my crooked pinkie, to my ornery sense of humor. There's a little piece of her in everything that I do and while oftentimes its more bitter than sweet, it's a good reminder of her wonderful influence on my life. 

A special thanks to Miss Maryam for coming with me. It was a trip that I'll never forget.

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