It was officially announced today that Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit would be part of an exciting venture with Eastern Market beginning June 1st and lasting every other Sunday until Sept. 28th. A Pop-Up shop will be taking over Shed 2 with the theme, "YB Blue," and will showcase myself as well as other professional, Detroit sylists and bloggers curating the shop each assigned weekend with her style to help promote her vision. Here is a portion of today's press release and the goal:
"To obtain revenue from purchases at YB Blue which will go right back to funding our efforts to put Metro Detroiters with employment challenges back to work. Shoppers can find great style and feel good knowing their purchase is helping to keep our friends and neighbors employed.” - Lorna G. Utley, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.
You can find out more information here:
Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit - YB Blue in Eastern Market
I don't know about you, but if you haven't visited a Goodwill store in many years, let me tell you...they've changed a LOT. Here in Detroit, I feel like we have the creme-de-la-creme of Goodwill shops as far as a style, merchandise, a reason why we might stop in for that special something and well....the people. The people that work at these stores make Goodwill what they are today. So many individuals have gone through their various job programs and you can see what shopping there can do for just one person. Shopping there can change a person's life.
So whether you're looking to find a coat to keep you warm or just searching for what you're hoping might be that hidden Van Gogh...at least you know that whatever you buy is helping someone here in this area that might need help getting back on their feet again.
Thank you so much for supporting the efforts of the first ever Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, YB Blue Pop-Up Shop. Come out and visit us the morning of June 1st at 10am. We'll be open until 4pm.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
It's been a very long time since I've been here. Time passes so quickly. It's Spring now and I'm wondering how on earth it came to pass that it's actually Spring of 2014. I wish I had more time to be out here and spend quality time writing. I wonder sometimes who visits and sees my tired, little blog. I've wanted to update it and make it look better for such a long time. Truth is. I kind of like the way it looks. Just simple, no bells and whistles. Just what is it. Like me.
What I AM super (!!!!) excited about, however, is that I've been asked to jot down a note about a VERY exciting venture I'm going to be a part of with Goodwill Industries of Detroit which will be happening on June 1st. They'll be doing their first ever Pop-Up shop in Eastern Market in Detroit. SO...more details to come on that! Social media will be "Popping" up everywhere in support of this exciting adventure with Goodwill, myself, and some fantastic bloggers in the area....SO...STAY TUNED! :)
Saturday, May 11, 2013
As of an hour ago I should have been doing the following:
1. I should have worked out.
2. I should have finished up all the Mother's Day Gifts.
3. I should have cleaned off an area in our kitchen where I like to "stack" things - like papers - even though I have two desks (that was bold of me to put on this list)
4. I should have emptied the dishwasher - the true bain of my existence - although I'm truly thankful for our dishwasher.
5. I should have called back a neighbor, but I just...can't...do it. Nothing...left.
Don't we have those moments out of each and every day? Nothing left? I hate to admit it, but I do. And yet, we always bounce back...when at 3 in the morning, your little one down the hall has a bad dream, or your mother living with you is calling for help...or your husband who's very sick...calls for you in the middle of the night and needs you (I just tell him to call his mom). Our loved ones need us - again and again, even though we think/thought we had nothing left. And yet, somehow, we really do always have something in there...something left to give when we just wish we could sleep in a hotel room all by ourselves (except for those people that always leave you food and wine at the door) for the next two weeks straight.
It may be possible that I'm going through some-what of a mid-life crisis. Signing up for a crazy, challenging race, cutting off all my hair, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next with my life. I never realized how challenging it can be, as a Mother, to find what place you fit into in this world. All through my 20's, my mantra was, "I'm never having kids, I'm never having kids, I'm never having kids." And then in my 30s, I prayed for my little girls everyday and am so blessed to have them now. Even though we may eventually all need separate living quarters just to survive? I know it will all be worth it in the end when they have children just like themselves for the payback. :)
Tonight at our local market, I was with the girls and we needed a few things for our BBQ tomorrow. I wanted to pick out my own dessert for Mother's Day (even though I should NOT be eating any of it with this race I'm training for) and the girls were having a fit in the bakery section - each naming the 20 cookie selections they were about to throw in the cart. I had remained as calm as I could, for as long as I could and then...like a volcano...the words exploded out of me..."TOMORROW IS MOM'S DAY!!! EVERYDAY IS KIDS' DAY!! I'M PICKING THE TREAT!!!
They both stood there and just said, "OK, mom." And finally shut their mouths. The lady over in the bacon section looked up...we shared an unspoken "I got your back, Momma," and we went on our way.
And that, Mother's of the World...is how tomorrow ought to be. :) Hope you get whatever treat your beautiful heart desires. xo
(I do really want to say thank you to my wonderful girls and husband...for making this Mother's Day weekend beyond spectacular...and for loving me so much. I thank God for you each and every day.)
Friday, April 12, 2013
Ok, kids are in bed, have my laptop, my husband is mumbling something about the turkey he ate being bad….but for right now…I’m blocking it all out. Just going to sit, take a deep breath, and focus. I haven’t been here in a long time. So…hello.
When I look at the last date that I wrote on my blog, I’m a bit shocked, surprised, saddened but also excited. There’s been so much going on these past few years that even getting back to doing a favorite thing such as writing is such a joy. I guess there couldn’t be a more perfect time for me to sit down and write this next entry.
Since moving to Detroit from Omaha, NE, almost 12 years ago, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the sense of “community” here. So many people think of Detroit as being everything it is in the news…and it can definitely be that…but it’s so much more. It’s the people here that make it so special. The people that mix and melt and mesh together that make me so proud to have the chance to raise my children here. I actually feel more at home here than I have anywhere else and many people that I’ve known for years have found that difficult to understand.
Growing up in Nebraska, it was just my mom, my sisters and I. My father left us when I was 12, I had a sister that was 5 and a very baby sister that was 6 months old. We definitely lived on the “wrong side of the tracks” in our part of Omaha. There was that divide between the wealthy kids and us kids from our area very far away literally and figuratively from the “rich kids.” My dad was gone, my mother struggled to get by, and also struggled with her mental illness. She tried to keep it all together while keeping food on our table. We survived with the help of some very saddened grandparents, WIC, Food Stamps and very generous, anonymous angels from our church. I remember asking myself…will the shame I feel ever disappear? How will I ever meet a friend outside our neighborhood that will accept me? How will I get out of this abyss?
We needed to shop at thrift stores out of necessity. At the time, it was so horrible for me…as a teenager, there was an embarrassment that set into my soul in the beginning that was almost unbearable. The pain of even thinking that someone would find out that I had to shop at a Goodwill or Salvation Army was just simply too much. But there was nothing we, as a family, could do. I remember so much about these stores back in the 80s. I can almost remember the smell of some of them. I can see the dirt underneath the racks, the condition of the items coming in.
About this time, “Pretty In Pink,” with Molly Ringwald was released in theaters. That movie changed my life. When Molly’s character, “Andie,” is faced with the heartache of watching her father endure hardship in his life, she does what she has to do to get by, by making her own clothes, etc. I thought to myself…I need to make this experience work in order to get through these high school years. I would only purchase clothes at the thrift stores with labels that said Gap, Liz Claiborne, Guess, etc., with the babysitting money I earned. That way, if anyone from school asked me where I got my shirt, pants from, etc., I would just remember the tag on the label so I wasn’t completely lying. When you’re buying things for $1.00, you can sure get a lot of clothes. By the time I was in high school, I remember one of my friends said…”Wow, Christy…you must be so rich, I never see you in the same thing twice!” I thought to myself…if you only knew. My house is such a wreck, our washer and dryer are in our kitchen.
As I grew older and our mother became increasingly ill, she ended up needing to be placed in and out of mental hospitals. She would get so sick, get lost and the police would find her in the snow two weeks later, completely barefoot. It devastated our family. When the police ended up putting her in a state hospital and one of their “doctors” ended up hurting her…my younger sister and I drove two hours to this hospital, in our Goodwill outfits, sat across the longest conference table you could ever imagine, and I threatened the head of this hospital to go to every TV station, radio station and newspaper in the state until they released our mother to us so we could take her to a different hospital.
And all of that was done in black pants and a black and turquoise jacket that I picked up at Goodwill. I was 25 years old. I’m 41 now. It’s amazing these moments that stick out in your head…and how the moment can be so intense that even your clothes are burned in your mind.
Goodwill was a matter of survival for my family. Now it’s kind of “hip” to shop at thrift stores and trust me, I’m still a thrift shopper…love vintage clothes, the thrill of the hunt, etc. But deep down inside of me…I’ll always have that ashamed, little girl that remembers what it was like to have my “secret.” But now that little girl realizes the joy of being able to grow up and move on and not care one bit about what people may think. There is no more fear.
I had a connection to Goodwill Industries of Detroit last year and went to them with this idea of having a fashion show. What Goodwill did for me…what SO many people have done for my sisters and me in our lives…I’ll never be able to repay them all. But in some small way, if there was anything I could do for Goodwill, this was an idea I had. But wouldn’t you know it…they already had it on their radar. This is now the “Second Annual” Goodwill Fashion Show and I’ve told people that I have big dreams for it in years to come. Their “Shop For Jobs” program is phenomenal, especially in this area. That’s why I feel so at home here. You’re giving so much more than money to Goodwill when you’re purchasing items from them. You could be giving back someone’s dignity again. Someone’s hope, their self-worth.
If you’ve finished this to the end, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
If not, I understand. I’m this wordy in person as I am on paper.
If you’d like to attend an amazing Goodwill event, please come to our fashion show on April 27th, at 11am, at their new store in Dearborn. It’s going to be such a great way to give back to our communities. Please see our poster (here) for more info.
Have a WONDERFUL day and happy shopping!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
It's Sunday night. It's 10:30pm and I've been thinking a LOT about time today. We never have enough of it, do we? I want to go to bed right now, actually, but I really just want to sit here and write. I need to fold laundry. But I want to write. I need to write out a few thank-you notes...but I want to work on my blog. Oh...I'm also watching/listening to, "MOVE THAT BUS!!" on Extreme Makeover Home Edition so I'm sure I'm about to start bawling any second too...but I can always make time for that. :) (Oh yeah! Totally crying now...hahaha!)
Do any of you have crazy little ones? No, I mean C.R.A.Z.Y little ones??? Like the ones where you look at them and wonder if you should go back to the hospital and ask for your money back? Like...Uh, where's the return policy? I've asked Chris over and over again if he's SURE Ava came out of me....Hehehe... I look for strange markings on her to see if maybe aliens took my real baby and dropped this one off. A marking on her that might read, "SUCKAH!" HA!
Tonight, for example, we were at my in-laws for our weekly Sunday dinner. At the end of the evening, we were having the girls say goodbyes to the grandparents, great grandma and some of Ava's great uncles that were there. As Ava was about to say goodbye to one of her dear great Uncle's...Uncle Tom....I could see wicked little wheels turning in her head as the wicked little smile began to appear on her face. "Say goodbye to Uncle Tom, Ava," I said. "Bye Bye, Uncle BUGGAH!!" she yelled at him as she laughed hysterically!! Uncle Tom tried not to burst out laughing himself....but it's difficult in between her burping and the thousand times a day she makes herself toot and laughing about pooping and potty-ing. Honestly, I think she may get kicked out of pre-school next year. I fall into bed at night just from sheer exhaustion of disciplining her! People in the grocery stores will say..."Oooohhhh!! Cherish the time you have with her...It goes so by SO FAST!!" I say..."Yeah, I need her to be 18 so she can move out of our house." Haha! Maybe the aliens will come back for her by then.
Honestly, though....I LOVE this girl. I just was NOT prepared for my little boy in pink. Sigh. Beside her full-on potty talk? The cute saying she says now is, "I LOVE my family! It's the GWEATEST!" So, I don't want to sell her EVERY day.
We all want time to speed up or slow down. Time for this or for that. Time to stand still. As much as I joke about it, my little ones are growing up so fast and I admit, it's a relief and a heart-break all at the same time. Lexi turns 6 this Tuesday and Ava just turned 3. I'm always looking for a shortcut to maximize every second of the day. Take, for example, our deck table. We had two, back to back, that were made of tempered glass and both shattered. We finally got smart about it and decided NOT to buy any more glass tables and pick up one made of rod-iron. I found one at Home Depot today for $199.00. Done deal. Pick it up tomorrow. Well, Chris decided he wanted to "make" a new table-top. WHAT? Why???...just get in the car and go PICK ONE UP!!!!!!!! Honey. :) But no, he said..."You, of all people, should want to do this with me. Let's make a new table-top out of tile!!" SIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!! He's right. I hate it when he's right. I hate him for being able to use both parts of his brain. He can build a house with his bare hands, probably do all the decorating for it too, and then use a mathematical algorithm to cure cancer. Annoying...in a good way. :)
He drew a diagram, went to Home Depot, got everything to get started and voila...we're starting our family project to re-use our old frame from last summer's deck dining table to turn it into this year's tiled family table. I'm actually excited now. I'm excited to slow down a bit to see how we'll do this together. How Lexi, Chris and I will work together and Ava will set fire to it and blow up our entire deck. Better just have her move in with Grandma and Grandpa for awhile. :) To be continued......
Here's Chris getting started on the table today after returning from Home Depot. (prep work)
The piece of wood wouldn't just slide in (above) so he ended up having to take the legs off.
Making the holes all around the bottom for the new brackets.
New frame is on. Need to go to The Tile Shop tomorrow to start picking out our goods. :)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I'm back. Had to take a small blogging hiatus of chaos that seemed to have no end. You all know those days. The days where you wake up thinking, "Um. I really don't know how I'm going to make it through until 8pm tonight. Or maybe even until the end of this century." And suddenly, it's a month later before you've woken up from the Chaos-Coma. With meetings and meals and switching between princess pull-ups and Elmo underpants and phone calls and laundry and rides in the car to the grocery store where you're not entirely sure how you ended up there because you drive there so often you're just on auto-pilot...and it's actually a scary feeling that you made it there at all because your eyes were open but they might as well have just been blacked out since you have no recollection of what you saw. (Is that the record for the longest run-on sentence?) Did you see Spring blooming all around you and hear the birdies chirping away or did you see purple polka-dotted alligators doing a dance by the side of the road? Who the crap knows? All you know is you ended up in a grocery store parking lot and if you don't get grapes, Wheat Thins and milk, someone will surely be Capital P.O'd at home.
I'm so back-logged on blogs right now I want to cry. Because writing is one of my favorite things to do and once I started this blog, everything started racing like little Ava's nose during allergy season (starting right now, poor baby) and then my little friend here had to sit in the MacBook dark abyss for longer than I had ever hoped for. I have a list of items I need/really am dying to blog about...but at this point, I may not be caught up until Christmas. But that's ok...the ideas I have can continue to be written on my bank deposit slips, napkins, the backs of pictures the girls make me...hehe...(please don't tell them, ok? So bad....) Then the ideas make it to the leather bound book that Chris and the girls gave me for Mother's Day last year that's getting filled with lots of various things....songs I hear and need to buy, names of paint colors, maybe someone's phone number (not that kind of phone number, put your phone down and stop spreading rumors, good grief)...random things. Not very organized.
So, let's get to something I wanted to talk about. Spring = flowers, right? I watched one of those crazy "Platinum Wedding" shows the other day and it was literally a $1.3 million wedding. The budget for the flowers alone was something like $200,000!!! But I have to say...they were the most EXQUISITE yellow, pink and orange roses and other flowers in the same hues that you have EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE ON THIS PLANET!! Really and truly...and there were trillions of them...for this outside wedding truly fit for royalty, which was basically their "theme." Yes, "royalty" was their theme. Not a certain color or Mikey Mouse (hey, whatever floats your boat) but....R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y. The only people that should have royalty as their theme should be Prince William and Kate Middleton, ok? Not Julie and Todd sitting on thrones up there on the altar that just registered at Tiffany's when most of the guest-list were hoping they were registering at Target. Ok, anyway, everything for this wedding was mind blowing but throughout the entire show, I just wanted to know, what on EARTH were they going to do with these trillions of flowers after the wedding???? Donate them to where?? Send them on a flatbed truck to every retirement home in all the nearby 4 cities?? Make funeral wreaths out of them for every tombstone in the tri-state area? It was going to be SUCH a waste to see all these gazillion flowers eventually turn BROWN and shrivel up!!! Hey...like I said...imagine me saying this in an Italian-Jersey very NON-royalty-like-manner..."Whateveh floats yah boat!!"
My neighbor, Anne, has a younger sister that got married a few weekends ago and since she was crowned "Amazing Matron of Honor," she was in charge of hosting the bridal shower last month. She had it at a great local restaurant and I was honored when she asked me if I would come up with the table decor for the two tables. There's nothing I love more than an intimate party and when it's in a restaurant, it's so much fun too! 17 women were invited and the restaurant would be providing the white table linens, of course, so I suggested we just keep it simple...some runners on each table and I'd put together some bright vases of flowers and I still have votives from my wedding that she could use as well. Pull junk out of your basements, people, and throw it on a table scape. You'd be stunned at how great Aunt Minnie's old tablecloth from 1960 just might look FAB today!
Researching online what flowers were in season was really helpful (to save on cost), so we made a list and I called my friend, Stacey, at Uniquely Yours, in downtown Northville and she was able to order what flowers we needed. We picked up the flowers Friday morning so we could assemble all the arrangements Friday night for the Saturday shower. Stacey was kind enough to let us keep the flowers in large buckets full of water and then we just returned the buckets on Saturday after the shower. The only bulk flower we purchased elsewhere were the roses which Costco had huge deals on.
I have to just throw in here that I learned everything I know about flower arranging from watching my amazing mother-in-law. We call her "Martha" all the time (although she's not the mean Martha that would end up in jail...haha!) because she can just do it all...sew, garden, is a gourmet cook, can scrapbook, get out any stain you have anywhere on you, put together a table-scape like nobody's business and can put together a flower arrangement that looks like a million bucks. After being married to my husband for a little over 9 years, I just loved watching her make her flower arrangements and I started loving it too. Would do it for parties once I gained some confidence and voila...here I was helping my lovely neighbor all because of my sweet and dear MIL.
So, Anne and I started assembling the 4 arrangements Friday night. Anne wanted them in mason jars (very cute and casual idea for a spring bridal shower) so I thought it would be great to have the arrangements have the brightest flowers we could find in season and get the jars as full and as thick as possible. She also used double-sided table to put together plaid ribbon to go around the jars as well. As I put together the first arrangement, Anne got the confidence to try the second one....she did so great!! We actually ended up with some left-over flowers so I put together the last bouquet so they could have something to put on the "cup-cake table." I was so excited at how they turned out!
I have to also say that we sprinkled the flower food in each of the jars and Anne was kind enough to bring one home for me. I'm not joking here at all when I say that the arrangements lasted an entire WEEK!!! Well, my favorite Gerber Daisies didn't, but still...the entire rest of the arrangement looked incredible for that long!! So, as usual, I love getting flowers through Uniquely Yours and Costco's roses were amazing!! :) Don't be afraid to try these projects by yourself or with other family members! You can always look online for tips or check out books at the library! Just have fun with it! :)
And one more thing before I close this blog that's literally taken me WEEKS to finish....haha! You obviously don't have to have a 1 point whatever gazillion dollar wedding to wow your guests or the WORLD, for that matter. Remember back in 2009, a certain wedding party was filmed and put on YouTube of an entire wedding party dancing their way into the church to Chris Brown's, "Forever?" It wasn't a glitzy, glamorous wedding, just a simple and glorious affair with the girls carrying my forever favorite, Gerber Daisies, the men wore simple suits but the beat was in their steps and the joy on their surprised guests faces and there was so much LOVE when the stunning bride finally made her appearance?!! A moment so pricesless beyond words...still, these two years later... I STILL cry every time Jill appears at the back of the church and starts her dance down the isle to meet her groom!! A perfect, simple moment, video taped for the world to see. The most amazing part of it all continued AFTER the video went viral as well! They started their own website (www.jkweddingdance.com) and put their sudden fame to a wonderful cause - the prevention of domestic violence. Visit their wonderful site and you can get the great video and see that they've already raised $34,600!! Their little video has actually been viewed 65, 828, 772 times!! UNREAL!!! :) It actually makes me soooo happy too since all the girls are carrying my favorite GERBS! :) But take a sec to do a little dance!
So, what's the moral of this forever long story? I'm a complete suckah for weddings. Even for complete strangers. More for the $5,000 weddings though than the $1.5 million weddings. I need to pay more attention when I drive to the grocery store. Or maybe start taking advantage of their delivery services. Who really does that? Because I think that would be AWESOME!!! And last but certainly not least...I really think that if we all planted Gerber Daisies in every yard, in every vacant lot, in every open area where we could plant them? We'd have world peace. They would just make everyone that happy.... :)
Pics of the arrangements I put together for Anne's sister's bridal shower:
Getting the stems prepped: extra leaves off, etc.
Close up look at how beautiful these flowers looked before starting the arrangements.
And how AMAZING the flowers looked once they were put together in the mason jars!
Once the cute ribbon was on the jars and we saw how the runner was going to look underneath them all, it was great to see how it all was coming together!
This is the arrangement I made for the "cup-cake table" with the left-over flowers we had.
Me - Making final touches to the arrangements. We did this all at Anne's house the night before the shower. Got it all done from start to finish in about 3 hours.
And how the tables looked at the restaurant where the shower was held. Anne took this for me. :) I also gave her some of the votive candles I had from my wedding and they are also on the table. She said the whole family just loved how the arrangements turned out and that made us both SO very happy! :)
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Grateful. Grateful is the word of the day. The word of the week, the year...ok, it's the word that exemplifies my entire straight-out-of-a-novel-life. But this was quite an exciting week for me and it really was the icing on the cake having my blog so graciously made over by my friend, Kelli Taylor, of Purple Tree Photography. Between Kelli and Cheryl Oz...those two have been helping me put my vision together of how I REALLY wanted this baby to look. These two are master-crafts-women. Between their paintbrushes, cameras and computers, they can make ANYTHING look good...even almost 40-year-old me....hahaha! Kelli had her work cut out for her, I PROMISE you, with me as a subject. "Wait, is my hair right? Wait...it looks fuzzy. Can I pull it back? Can I change my shirt?" I'm sure she couldn't wait to get to the "still life" part of the photo shoot...haha! It's one thing when you're getting your photo taken for your Christmas card (yup, those still need to be sent out too. Dang! Ha!)...just make sure there aren't too many wrinkles in everyone's color coordinated outfits, get the dried milk off of junior's face. Maybe use some spit to smash down Joey's bed-head. But these photos were different for me. This was a bit more exposure for me.
This is about my business. My heart and soul in this business. My family in this business. My friends in this business. Everything that represents me. Fuzzy hair and all. Kelli is so great at what she does. Really and truly. I can post something about her on FB to say...book something now OR YOU'LL BE TOTALLY STUPID IF YOU DON'T!! Blah, blah, blah...but I'm saying this really and truly. You get what you pay for here and then-some. You'll get patience, expertise, she WON'T make fun of your hair too much - HAHA! (she was honest with me though, which I appreciated, when I wanted to pull my hair back and it ended up looking pretty blech in the pics) and in the end? You'll get these incredibly gorgeous and natural light-filled photographs that you'll pass down for generations and when you're a grandparent you'll say..."I remember the day Joey cried the entire time through our session with Kelli but she brought out the best in him for these gorgeous photos and oh, look! I remember how she helped me fix my fuzzy hair!" :)
We set up everything ourselves that you see above in my banner. How it all turned out just blows my mind. Some simple behind the scenes facts: The fabrics are actually two amazing tablecloths I had just purchased at Target. The little white frame has a picture in it that Lexi painted when she was three years old. I keep it in our dining room. The art books are all ones I purchased at the last estate sale I went to (totaling all of, I think, $6) from Cari Cucksey, host of HGTV's, "Cash & Cari." And the candlesticks are ones I found at a flea market in Grand Rapids. The holes are so wide, it's tough to find a wide enough candle to put in them so I decided to place these little decorative votives on top of them and I really like how they look now. I found the votives at Ikea a few years ago during the holidays.
So, as you can see...you can really fill your home with little pieces of love and pieces THAT you love that don't have to break the bank. Hunting for all these treasures is the best part.
There are oh, so very many things to be thankful for on this almost Friday morning. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends, Kelli and Cheryl, that have been such a force of inspiration on this media journey and I'm thankful to you for stopping by to read this tonight...almost tomorrow morning. :)