Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Canada Conundrum & Ad Space Extravaganza!

I can't believe tomorrow is the first day of June! I'm so excited for summer at last! I am totally a warm weather, sunshine kind of girl!

The other reason I can't believe it is already June is that for the past year, I've planned to go see U2 in Montreal with about a dozen of my friends. U2 is my favorite band in the history of ever, and I've NEVER seen them in concert, so it's a big deal. One friend is flying in from Arizona, a few are Canada natives, one is coming from the UK, one from Netherlands, etc. We plan to get in the General Admission line around 4am so when 9pm rolls around, we will be right up front. We've planned, schemed, giggled and pondered what shoes to wear for an entire year.

And now I can't afford to go.

Without getting into too many details, I was expecting a decent amount of cash to show up earlier this year, and it's been delayed bigtime. So now I need around $800 for my trip, and I have... well, way less than that.

So I have to get creative, and I've been pondering what to do. I do sponsored posts on my blog sometimes, but I try not to do too many since this is first and foremost a personal blog, and I don't want people to feel like it is overrun with things I'm getting paid for. If one comes along that I feel fits in with my blog really well, or is a product/site I really like, then I'll happily do it, but I'm not going to rave about the newest diapers just for a few dollars.

Instead, I thought I'd offer up ad space. I may not have thousands of followers, but the ones I have are pretty awesome. I don't want a super cluttered sidebar like I've seen on some sites-- I'm not looking to make millions on ads, I just want to come up with enough for a much needed vacation! Thus, I'm offering up what I think is a pretty darn good deal- $35 gets you a text link from whenever you pay through the end of the year, and $50 gets you a 125 x 125 button link. (Sites are subject to approval, I'm not going to link to donkey porn.) I'm also totally open to any other offers you may have (part of the year, links to more than one blog, a post about your site)!

If you're interested, please e-mail me at Crystal@lovemanythings.net. If more than 12 people participate, I'll make things fun and choose one with random.org to get half of what they paid back!

I'm also setting up a donate link on Paypal if you want to put a dollar towards the cause, or even 11 cents. I'm eternally thankful for any contribution. Music is what gets me through the dark times, and looking forward to this trip is what has gotten me through some of the hardest parts of the past year!





If you don't quite understand why I simply must go see U2 so The Edge can fall madly in love with me, feel free to see any of these posts!

Target Tuesday #11

I totally missed Target Tuesday last week because I was busy actually being at Target. Oops! I finally got new jeans (my old ones were literally falling off), some cherry snow cone syrup (summer must-have!) and some pink grapefruit Method hand soap to replace what I had to leave behind in FL when I moved. They even had a sale on the bottled Frappuccinos where you got a $5 Target gift card if you bought two 4-packs, which are just over $5 each, so it was like FREE COFFEE, which is basically the best thing ever! Successful outing!

Anycoffee, today's Target Tuesday is all about animal prints!






I love these! Plus you get 4, so I'll still have 2 left after I break one and the cats break one!






I only wish it had arms. I'm not discriminating against limbless chairs, I'm just sayin'.


I rarely wear ballet flats because, you know, heels FTW, but these are super cute!

And of course, a total must-have...



Head over to Fabulous But Evil to link up!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Q & A

I'm way too tired for actual thought today, thus a meme!


1. What's your favorite rainy day activity?
Books & bed & coffee! Or tea. Or Darren Criss & bed.

2. What time do you go to bed?
It changes a LOT from day to day, week to week, depending on what weird sleep schedule I fall into. On average around 5am, though.

3. How many magazines do you subscribe to?
3, I think? I lose track!

4. Did you sell all your belongings because you thought the world was ending yesterday?
Nah, but I did listen to U2's "Until the End of the World" a few times.

5. What's your beauty obssession?
Eyebrows. I can skip almost anything else in times of lazyness, but eyebrows must be perfect at all times.

6. If you could only wear one designer/brand for the rest of your life...what would it be?
In dream-fashionland, Alexander McQueen. I would ROCK those armadillo shoes! Realistically, I'd go with Free People. Way more practical for every day.

7. What's your summer must have?
Snow cones! I actually just discovered these frozen booze-in-a-bag things at the grocery store that are like snow cones for adults. AMAZING.

8. Do you make weekly dinner menus?
Hellz no! I'm lucky to even remember to eat most days, planning anything ahead is unheard of.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I like stuff.

Do you like stuff? I totally like stuff and the acquiring thereof! I thought I'd share some of the snazzy stuff that's come into my life lately!




I won this ring in a giveaway at Spiffy Stuff! It's kind of hard to see the dragonflies in the design, but there are 2. I'm obsessed w/ dragonflies, so this made me happy! (It's from the Etsy shop Dragonpop.)

This 2nd ring I got on eBay! I actually kind of broke my "never pay more than $1 for stuff" rule, because I was dumb and didn't notice the shipping on this was $3, so it cost me a total of $3.99. Still totally worth it!


It has the weirdest band I've ever seen, almost like a watch band.


Loooove.

Continuing the cheap jewelry theme, I got this necklace for 30 cents, including free shipping.



It's a little gaudy in a "Heart of the Ocean" way, but I like that about it. And that green tank top is one of 7 items (7!) I got with the $50 gift certificate to Rock Bottom T-Shirts that I won from Mom-Blog. They seem to be a cool company, they even posted a pic of the hoodie I was ordering in the color I asked about on their FB wall since it wasn't on the site.

These earrings were also an eBay purchase:


94 cents with free shipping, woot woot! I also got 2 other similar dangly pairs, and some cute turquoise beaded ones that were 11 cents. I pretty much win at life.

And then shoes...




I got these awesome pumps from a giveaway on Momma Told Me. I am pretty sure I was supposed to get red shoes, but they sent black, and I'm pretty ok with that. I liked the idea of red because I'd probably never buy them myself (these are $130 shoes, dude), but I can wear the black with almost everything, so it's win-win. My favorite part is the bottom...



I love the little jewel!

I also won these Sanuk flip-flops from Born 2 Impress!



My feet are nowhere near as giant and hobbity as they look in this pic, I promise. I am super in love with these flip-flops, they are SO SO comfy! Now I just need to win another giveaway and get the giraffe design, too!

I also won the most amazeballs box of Oliver Kita truffels from Heavenly Savings!


They're each like a little work of art! And SO tasty!

I also recently won a $10 Overstock gift certificate from Eighty MPH Mom, and I can't wait to get it so I can buy these:

Women's 200 Pink/Blue Wayfarer Sunglasses

Super excited!

Have you gotten anything snazzy lately?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Target Tuesday #10

It's Tuesday! Also known as Glee Day! Also-also known as...


No real theme this week, just randomness!

I am in huuuuuge need of new jeans, y'all. I'm in one of those phases where all of my pants are literally falling off. I'm kind of digging these, which are less than $20, woot!

Product Image Mossimo Supply Co. Juniors Bootcut Jean - Medium Tint Wash

Product Image Mossimo Supply Co. Juniors Jean Mini Skirt w/ Frayed Hem - Medium Vintage Wash

I soooo need a denim skirt. When I was in a skirty mood, I used to just go across the hall to Ashlee's and steal hers, but now that I'm 1000 miles away, that's harder. I'm totally digging this one, but sadly, it is only online, not in stores. This made me sad.


Product Image 30-oz. Camel Teapot - White
I'm kinda obsessed with camels. This teapot is pretty much the best thing EVER.

Except for the actual best thing ever...


Product Image Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers
Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers

Okay, so I already have the Warblers CD, I just felt like throwing it in. I've listened to this SO MUCH in the past week it's insane. I should do a whole dark blue/red Target Tuesday next week in honor of my beloved Warblers.

Head over to Fabulous But Evil to link up or see the other Target Tuesdays for this week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bad-Assery


One of the things I've been doing to combat my awful mood the past few days is listening to the Warblers CD pretty much on repeat, because it is hard not to smile at least a little bit when Darren Criss is singing Soul Sister or Raise Your Glass. A few TOO many listens got me pondering just why he is so awesome, and I realized it is exactly what the picture above points out- the dude is totally himself, and as a result, awesome.

I think at some point when we were kids, almost all of us got mocked or made fun of for some aspect of who we are or something we liked. Whether it was wearing clothes that weren't "cool", listening to music that wasn't what everyone else liked, or liking a certain toy or tv show past the "appropriate" age, at some point, almost all of us picked up the habit of hiding some of the things we love. Thus the whole concept of "guilty pleasure". But if you really think about it, why on earth should you feel guilty about something that makes you happy?

Some of us regain that confidence lost during those middle school/junior high years when all you want is to blend in and almost everything is SUPER embarrassing. (ZOMG, you were just seen with your parents? In public? End of world!) But how many people really make it to adulthood with our ability to wear what we want, like what we like, BE who we ARE, and be comfortable showing the world?

Let's go back to my Darren example, partly because he's what inspired this, and mostly just because I like looking at him.


I couldn't find my favorite version of this image, which includes the caption "And not a single fuck was given that day." This one works, though. Pink Wayfarers FTW!


Multicolored nail polish? Check.

And to seal the deal:



This is from a few years ago, obviously pre-Glee. But how do you not love a dude that takes the time to redo an arrangement of Belle, learn to play it, and YouTubes it?

How many men in their mid-20s would admit to knowing the lyrics to Disney songs, let alone perform them?

There's a word for that.

Badass.

EdenFantasys: Getting The Most From Your Order

One of my good friends recently put in her first order from EdenFantasys, and since I blog about them fairly often, she IM'd me with a lot of questions, hoping for suggestions and advice. I figure that if she had questions, others may too, so this is my handy dandy guide to make ordering easy!

*Take advantage of the free gifts! At the top of the homepage, you will see a "Free gift with any order!" button. CLICK IT! I've seen the free gifts range from kind of meh to really awesome, but dude, it is FREE, so why not take advantage? Once you're on the free gift page, you usually just have to click a link or button to add the item to your cart, and the price is automatically deducted, but double check the directions just to be safe, as things do change from time to time. The free gift changes as things run out of stock, but generally around once a week.

*Want a 2nd free gift? There is almost always another gift for people who are fans of EdenFantasys on Facebook, and yes, you can get BOTH with your order. Look for the button on the right side of the homepage that says Eden Friends. Clicking on this will show you any gifts that are available, and talk you through adding them to your cart.

*Take advantage of free shipping. Orders over $59 ship for free, so if you are planning to spend at least $50 anyway, why on earth wouldn't you bump it up and avoid paying the $5.95 for shipping? Put those $6 towards something tangible instead of just shipping cost!

*Use your points! You earn EdenPoints for everything you do on the site, from searching to putting things on your wishlist to rating reviews. These can add up fast, but even if you only have $1 worth, you might as well convert them to a gift card and apply it to your order! This can be done by clicking "account" on the top left of any page, selecting "EdenPoints Program" (This also offers a breakdown of all of the ways you can earn points) and then selecting "Convert to gift card". This will generate a code you can enter at checkout to save yourself some cash!

*Check the promotions! Towards the top right of any page, you'll see a button that says "Promotions". Clicking this will drop down a menu that shows you all of the snazzy promotions going on, which usually include sales on a certain type or brand of product, and deals where you get a free gift with purchase or buy one get one type of deal.

*Sign up for alerts. You can set e-mail alerts that tell you when items you have your eye on go on sale. You can also set your preferences to receive e-mail about ANY promo that comes up. For instance, today I got an e-mail that now through the 19th, you can get 20% off of everything by entering the code "sexymood" at checkout. Score!

This list just scratches the surface, really, but it is already pretty long, so I may do a follow-up with more tips next time if there is interest. My friend was pretty impressed when my ninja EF shopping skills got her like $100 worth of stuff for about $60, but you can easily save even more if you don't mind putting in some work!

Have questions? Just ask!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Truth, Vol. 2

I'm still not quite up to actual blogging, so you get this today:






Saturday, May 14, 2011

Slowly

I'm typing this in bed, where Jasper (Cricket's brother) is curled up next to me, sleeping in his super cute way. We took a nap together, and now we're just chilling. He's excellent company.

The last few days have really, really sucked. (See previous post about Cricket if you don't get why.) It's still pretty darn horrible, but things are finally starting to feel a tiny bit more normal. The number of times a day mom or I say "I miss Cricket" or "Poor Cricket" or something similar is down to around five thousand, instead of one hundred and ninety-four million. The random sobbing is down to a couple of times a day.

If you're not a cat person, that probably sounds crazy, but I don't care. I totally own my crazy cat lady status, and taking her death so hard means she was really, really important and loved. After way too much though about every possible aspect, I realized this is literally one of the worst things that has happened in my life, and trust me, coming from someone who has been through the kind of crap I have, that is saying a LOT. I could go on and on about WHY it is so hard and tragic and just plain awful, but really, I think you either get it or you don't.

(Jasper is now laying on his back dreaming with his tongue sticking out. His little feet are twitching as he chases some kind of epic chipmunk in dreamland.)

I spent an hour or so last night going through my Flickr account and tagging all of the pics of Crick & Jas so I'd have handy links. Should you be the kind of person who really enjoys looking at pics of other people's cats, both living and not, you can see all of the Cricket pictures here and Jasper here. For everyone else, I'm just going to share a couple of favorites:


This is all blurry because it is a cameraphone pic, because I was laughing too hard to get my actual camera. I had just sprayed down my comforter with the allergy reducing Febreeze, and then tossed it over my bedroom door to dry. Cricket, being a lover of being up high, took the opportunity to *climb* the blanket so she could hang out on top of the door. Note Jasper's little head down in the door frame looking at her like "Are you on CRACK?"


Another cameraphone moment, this is what happens if you give a Cricket a small paper bag.


When I was stuck home sick for like a month last year, Cricket kept me entertained with games of "kitty fort". She'd get under the covers with me, and we'd play with her toy mice. Kittens also make excellent space heaters when you're cold.


At some point when I was in Florida, I called my mom up super upset about something, probably money. I think it was one of those "they're going to reposess my car and my rent is overdue and I'm going to be homeless and also I haven't had money for food in three days" calls. For whatever reason, I was crying in total breakdown mode when Cricket suddenly ran into the bedroom, wearing a plastic grocery bag as a superhero cape. I immediately switched from crying to laughing so hysterically my mom thought I'd been shot or something. This became one of Crick's favorite things-- just last week she crawled inside a plastic bag and ran around the kitchen. We buried her with one, as well as one of her favorite mouse toys.


When Cricket was about 3 months old (I adopted her when she was 2 mos), she started stealing my fuzzy pink slippers and carrying them around the house, so I bought her her stuffed hippo, Mr Monkeypants. He was almost her exact size, but she still showed him who was boss.


This was my girl. She was the kind of cat that never did anything wrong. She loved everyone, everyone loved her. Even when I adopted her, the person at the shelter asked which cat I was there to pick up, and when I said Cricket, she said "Oh, she's AWESOME." And she was.

So now it's me and Jasper hanging out in bed, instead of all 3 of us. Jas has always been a "special snowflake", afraid of sunshine and rainbows and clouds. He always relied on his sister to do things first, to give him courage. Now he's stuck with the older cats, who he is afraid of despite the fact that he's lived with them a year and they haven't eaten him yet, and BonoCat, who chases him around, and me. He seems to think I'm pretty okay.

And outside of this house, life goes on as normal. Everyone goes to work and eats breakfast and watches tv and checks their e-mail. Everything is normal. We're trying to get back towards normal, slowly. And slowly, the moments where the pain is unbearable grow farther apart, while the times when things feel pretty normal grow more frequent. Life change shape a little, hearts try to stitch themselves back together, and Jasper and I lay here together, trying to fill in that missing space for each other.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Cricket


You guys, I'm sitting here unable to stop crying. My Cricket got hit by a car. She hadn't been up all afternoon, but I assumed she was just out on a kitty adventure. My mom finally decided to walk along our road to check, and found her about 30 steps from our house. I am in total, total shock that my itty bitty is gone.

We're both in that crazy guilt phase of "what if's". What if we had gone looking for her earlier? I went out and called her a few times this afternoon, I should have known something was up. Would finding her sooner have made a difference? Thinking about it totally rips my heart out.

We have a fenced in back yard, and when we let the cats out they usually chill on the back deck or within the yard, but every now and then they'll follow a squirrel into the woods or something. She never, ever goes up by the road, though, so this... I don't even have words. Just so, so sad.

Cricket was my BABY. I adopted her when she was about 2 months old, and when I brought her home from the shelter she had an awful cold and I thought I was going to lose her. After days of feeding her via eyedropper, she finally pulled out of it and grew up into an amazing cat. I mean, look at that first photo, she made her own superhero capes out of grocery bags.

Just yesterday I was cuddling her in the guest room (which was "her" room- she spent long afternoons stretched out asleep on "her" bed.) She was in such a lovey mood yesterday, she got so many belly rubs and cuddles.

I wish there was something, anything I could do. There's not. I'm heartbroken. I'm still in shock. When my mom brought her body up, I literally had to pull up photos to check markings to make sure it was her, it was so unbelievable.

A huge, huge, bigger than huge reoccuring theme in my life the last few years has been to take NOTHING for granted, a lesson I've learned from loss after loss after loss. I try, I really try to fully appreciate everyone and everything in my life, because I keep being shown how quickly I can lose them, without warning.

All of these words are me trying to make some sense of it, trying to believe it, trying not to feel so horrible, trying to somehow comfort myself. It isn't working.

I'm sad.

...and it made me complete

This has nothing to do with anything, but it literally just made me LOL.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Target Tuesday #9: Summer Essentials

Yesterday was gorgeous, in the sunny, 86 degrees, sit outside and paint my toenails tangerine, have a momentary freakout that my legs are too pale for shorts way. As a result, my brain is totally obsessed with summer, so that's the theme of this week's Target Tuesday!

(Go forth and link up! You even get extra entries in Tara's awesome giveaway for it!)




I already have a snow cone maker that I love dearly, but I love the old-fashioned design of this one! Snow cones are 100% essential for summer. I could live off of them! Banana and cherry are the best.




Shooooooes! I know these wouldn't match that much in my wardrobe, but wedges just seem like a summer must-have, and brightly colored ones even more so. I could go with their tamer neutral colored cousins, but that just wouldn't be as fun.




There is an 87% chance I am going to spend the $12 on one of these and then spend the rest of the summer trying to stuff myself into it. I mean, how FUN does that look?? (BTW, if you want to be instantly super depressed about your childhood, check out all of the kiddie pools and slides and playgrounds Target has. Where was all of that stuff when we were kids? We had the sprinkler, dudes.)




Okay, since I probably can't fit myself in the awesome pufferfish pool, I may legitimately spend the $30 on one like this. Being stuck in Missouri for the summer blows in that people don't have pools here. In Florida, if you don't have a pool, you're one of very few, and others feel very sorry for you. Even the crappiest of apartment complexes where drug busts go down nightly have pools. Being used to that makes Missouri feel like a third world country. I need my pool, even if it is only a foot deep. Plus, ya know, built-in cup holder. Adds class.




I'm like 10 lbs away from being bikini ready, but the hardest part of shopping is finding one that will support my boobage. That's a WHOLE other rant, but this is kinda cute. And oddly, would probably look much better on my curvy frame than this particular model's.




I love that this is NINE DOLLARS for both the towel and the tote bag! So cute! My actual beach towel is pretty similar, but is super awesome in that it has a built-in pocket for keeping all your stuff in while you frolic in the waves or flirt with lifeguards.



And finally, I'm posting this towel because it asked so nicely.

Humble apologies if images are kinda funky this week, I had to upload them to picsa instead of my own site because I am unbelievably lame and don't have the $5 to pay my hosting bill, so my account is suspended. Yes, I am that lame. Additionally, if you are trying to contact me on my lovemanythings.net email address, I can't access it for the same reason. #Winning.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Spring in Branson

This post brought to you by Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

I lived in Branson from the time I was 6 until my early twenties, so most of my memories from my early life take place there.  I remember going to the lake with my family a lot as a kid, buying corn to feed the ducks and geese, and going when I was older on work breaks to just sit by the water and read or write and relax.  

The settings of my childhood memories were torn out when the Branson Landing went up, but the lake itself is still there, of course, and I can enjoy the area in a different way.  There's now a whole string of outdoor shops from clothing to fudge, a cool water/fire display with the lake as a backdrop, some fun restaurants and the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel.  The area reminds me a little bit of Downtown Disney in atmosphere, I guess because of the whole shops along a lake thing, and there is even a Disney Store

Snazzy water/fire fountain at the BransonLanding

Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing has a Spring promo package that includes food vouchers and  tickets to Silver Dollar City theme park, which is right by my house, so it is practically a "come visit Crystal" package!  Silver Dollar City is a total must-do if you're in the area.  I'm a rollercoaster nerd, so of course I love the rides, but I also really love the tour of Marvel Cave below the park!  It's beautiful in an otherworldly way.

What else to see while you're in town?  I have to vote for Dixie Stampede because a) horsies! and b) I worked there for almost 5 years, so I'm totally biased.  I'd also spend some time checking out the cool shops in Downtown Branson near the lake, you can find some especially cool things in the flea markets!  I also have a weird fascinating with the Waltzing Waters show.  As soon as I get my dSLR camera I'm going to try to hit the show for some crazy water photos. 

So, who is coming to visit me before I head back to sunny FL?

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