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Thursday, August 29, 2013

5 Tips For An Enjoyable Weekend!

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It's hard to believe that the final summer holiday is already here! This is the weekend Americans are taking one last advantage of hanging out at the pool, having cookouts with family and friends, and hitting the big Labor Day Weekend sales for "Back To School" bargains. Here are a few quick tips to help everyone have a more enjoyable holiday weekend:

1. Let go of the stress! Whether you trying to hurry up and finish making a dish, hit a particular sale early, or trying to pack up the car to go camping, things will go alot smoother and even faster if you just relax, remember to breathe, and don't sweat the small stuff. Your dish will turn out fine, and if it doesn't then start over or stop at the store and pick something else up instead. That sale will be going on all weekend, and you will enjoy your shopping experience a lot more if you go shopping for fun! Packing up the car is always a tedious chore, but remember you are going on a mini vacation so why not sing a song while packing to help put you in the holiday spirit!

2. If you are going shopping, remember everyone at the store is there for the exact same reason... Trying to find a bargain. Remember shopping should be enjoyable since you are buying something new that you didn't have before! Try to take a deep breath or count to 10 when you encounter a rude or forceful shopper who just took the last hoodie you had your eye on. It's not worth ruining your mood or raising your blood pressure! And remember to smile and thank the store employees. They are the ones who have to work long hours and deal with crazy customers on a holiday weekend they would rather have off!

3. Just expect that you will forget to pack at least one thing. It happens... to everyone... all the time! If you prepare yourself ahead of time with the knowledge that it will happen, then you won't be so freaked out when you realize it actually did! And if it didn't, then you can give yourself kudos for being an efficient packer... This time!

4. Cookouts, barbecues, and picnics are always fun! While you are enjoying your time with family and friend, remember to be mindful of your surroundings. Try not to be too loud too late if you know there are neighbors nearby who do have to work in the morning. Remember to clean up your mess! Picking up empty cans and bottles, the rouge paper plate that blew off the table, and anything that wasn't there when you came and shouldn't be there when you leave. Your hosts, and/or the park/beach visitors will thank you for your courtesy!

5. Don't Drink & Drive! That should be a given on any day, but it's a good reminder that bad things can and do happen when you drink too much and get behind the wheel of a car, or boat, or jetski! Just don't do it!

I hope everyone has a pleasant, and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ready To POP!

It amazes me that I have a 20 year old daughter, yet I have never been an Aunt... Well, not until now that is! I was absolutely delighted when I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant, and immediately offered to help host her Baby Shower. This, of course, is the second large project (that I mentioned in last week's post) that I have been working on all summer.

Having a slight addiction to Pinterest does occasionally pay off, especially when looking for party/event planning idea's. After teaming up with my sister-in-law Regina, the theme we chose for this Baby Shower was "Ready To POP!"

Photos are courtesy of my dear friend Jacqueline

I eagerly put my new Cricut Expression 2 to work and, with my friend Megan graciously loaning me 2 of her Cricut Cartridges, made all the Baby Shower decorations myself. 

I designed each table centerpiece to be decorative, and ultimately become the prize of the main game.

We kept the guests entertained with our "Conversational Diapers" table:

Ken quizzing his sister with answers pre-given by her husband. Really fun!

And wish cards for the baby:

Continuing with "Ready To POP!" we made sure all of our food fit the theme too! We served "POPable Meatballs", "Caprese POPS", "Fruit POPS", "Cake POPS", "POPcorn", "POPular Cheeseballs", and "POP & Water". 

The guests loved the theme, and everyone had a wonderful time! It was definitely worth every minute of planning, and a lot of fun to see it all come together! 
Me with all 3 of my sisters-in-law, and my new niece!

Have you ever hosted a theme party? What is your favorite Baby Shower memory?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Enough Hours In A Day!

Many of you may have been wondering why my blog posts have been a bit more sporadic this past few months. The simple answer is: There just isn't enough hours in a day!

Two huge projects have been occupying every free minute of every day. One I will talk about today, and the other you will have to wait to hear about next week. So, what is the first big project that has consumed my life? Preparing to open my very own Etsy Shop! Welcome to Cinderley Designs & Boutique!

I came up with the name combining three elements: My first name, Cindy, my favorite princess, Cinderella, and my maternal family name, Curley. Cindy + Cinderella + Curley = Cinderley! Plus, I think it sounds pretty fantastic too! My whimsical logo/banner was designed by my very talented daughter, Corinne!

I decided to put my love of making pretty things out of ribbon to good use, and began avidly designing, sewing, gluing, and crafting my supply of ribbons into lovely hair bows.


I then began to play around with some simple fabric flower idea's, officially called "French Poufs"


I love the adorable simplicity of the french poufs, but I wanted to try my hand with a more elegant style of fabric flower hair clip. After two days (with the help of my sister-in-law Regina) I had enough fabric petals cut out to make several large and small "Shabby Chic" fabric flowers that I absolutely love!



I have also made lots of little bows for babies/toddlers, but I haven't had enough hours in my day to list them on my Etsy shop just yet. But, very soon they will be there!

I love craft making, and decorating, and event planning. It makes me so happy that I can do what I love and find a way to share it with the world! I would love to hear what you think, or let me know if you have any special requests! I still have one more big project underway, but after this coming weekend I will have much more "hours in my day" to make custom orders or requests! And just in case you missed the link at the top you can check out Cinderley Designs & Boutique here!

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dating 101: From a Woman's Point of View

When it comes to dating, I'm afraid I'm not exactly an expert. In fact, I can honestly say I have never been on a casual date. I'm the type of person who skips the dating process and goes right into a relationship. Most women have very specific expectations of what should happen on a date... especially a first date. While opinions may vary on the topic of dating etiquette, my friend Mary (a more seasoned dater than I) and I have compiled a list of dating expectations for those who wish to be treated like a lady, by a perfect gentleman. As a caveat, these suggestions are coming from the perspective of what we deem to be the average expectations of women who prefer the man to initiate dating relationships. Even if this is not the case with your date, the suggestions below represent common courtesy and thoughtfulness. Take what you like, and leave the rest!

Dear Gentlemen:

  1. Pay for everything. This practice has been contested in recent years with some women wishing to contribute on dates, or “go dutch.” Our suggestion is to err on the side of paying because you may risk not getting a second date if her expectations differ from what you've heard. She may offer to pay out of courtesy, but you should not let her unless she absolutely insists. A compromise may be that she offers to pay for ice cream or coffee after dinner as a sign of appreciation, but only if it’s her idea. You paying also signals that this is a date, and not just “hanging out.” This brings us to our next point.
  2. Call a date a date, you're both grown-ups and it won't scare her away. As one former date corrected me, “We're not hanging out, this is a date. Hanging out would be us sitting on the couch watching football and drinking beer.”
  3. Never ask a girl out and then say "let me know when you're free." YOU should initiate the scheduling of a date.
  4. Ask her real questions and listen for the answers.
  5. Don't brag, this is not a job interview.
  6. Make a decision (about anything!), giving options is appreciated but reenacting the conversation between buzzards from The Jungle Book "So, what you want to do?" "I dunno, what you want to do?" is a buzz kill. Decisiveness is attractive.
  7. When choosing a restaurant, ask her if she has any strong likes/dislikes or food allergies and then choose something that you think works with one place as a backup. A simple, "I thought we'd go to Olive Garden, how does that sound?" gives her an opportunity to voice her opinion but still shows you taking the lead.
  8. When you ask her out, call, don't text.
  9. Ex drama is left at the door, if you get serious that conversation will happen at the right time.
  10. Not all of us girls think about marriage on a first date, but it's okay if we do.
  11. We know that first dates are just first dates (even the first 3 for that matter) so don't worry about being pegged as a couple or creating unrealistic expectations. Just have fun!
  12. Ask for her number, don't give her yours.
  13. Like it or not it is your job to call after first date. If we don't hear from you within a week we may begin to think you're not interested. If, after several dates, you're not interested then tell her. Don't take the cowards way out by just "forgetting" to call until she gets the hint.
  14. Telling stories is great, reciting entire books is not. Keep your best and oh-so-entertaining stories brief and to the point.
  15. Just as with exes, do not bring up family drama, we all have some and will hear about it in due time but we're there to enjoy our time with you, not to be a therapist. Saying “My parents divorced when I was fifteen and so I lived in two different cities in high school.” is fine. “I have major issues with my mom/dad/sister and it has been hard to develop healthy relationships.” is TMI!
  16. Assume she's dating other people at the same time unless it has been stated otherwise and you are exclusive. This means you are free to do the same.
  17. Ask her out spontaneously or at the last minute once in awhile, but make that the exception, not the rule.
  18. Try to go beyond dinner and a movie. Try walks, museums, Putt Putt, the zoo, an art class, etc.
  19. Give reasonable compliments, we can smell flattery a mile away.
  20. Compliment her character as well as her looks, it means more.
  21. First date: To kiss or not to kiss? Unless the conditions are just right, a first date kiss may create unnecessary pressure or awkwardness where it doesn't need to be. Pay attention to her body language, if it's comfortable and she seems relaxed and is orienting herself close to you, offer your arm as you walk from one place to the next. Then go from there, if the feeling seems mutual, consider it! If not, remember anticipation is a good thing and there is no harm in waiting until you're sure the time is right.
  22. Surprise locations and activities are exciting and thoughtful! Just be sure she knows how to dress for the activity.
  23. Texting is fun and flirty in moderation, but use your phone as a phone and call her!
  24. Offering to pick a lady up from her home for a date is a traditional and courteous gesture if you know each other well enough for this to be comfortable. If it is a blind date, you met online, or do not know each other well, meeting in public is best. When meeting in public, try to find a place that is at least halfway between where both of you live, if not closer to her for the first few dates. If you offer to pick her up at her home and she prefers to meet in public , don't be offended, she is just doing what makes her most comfortable which will make the date more fun for everyone.
  25. Open ALL doors, for EVERY woman EVERY time, date or not.
  26. HAVE FUN! The point of dating is to get to know each other and have a good time!

Obviously, some women have higher expectations, and some less. The point is, be attentive, be generous, and show her a good time without any pressure. Tastes may vary from loving a man in a suit and tie, to wanting to be the girl on the back of that man's motorcycle, but it is always the gentleman inside that wins a girl's heart.

Do you have any dating rules or pet peeves? What is the best/worst dating experience you've ever had?

Monday, August 12, 2013

City Girl Goes Camping

I think I may have mentioned before that I really don't like hate camping. I hate getting dirty, I don't like getting wet, and I really hate bugs! However, this past weekend I went camping in Mackinaw City!

My husband and I decided to take our time on the drive up, and made a quick stop in Frankenmuth. We arrived at the Bavarian Inn just in time to watch the famous Glockenspiel tell the story of the Pied Piper of Hameln. Finding an empty bench under a nice shady tree, we enjoyed the summer breeze and watched the story unfold.


The drive up north was long, but the weather was perfect so we mostly drove with the windows down. I was getting anxious as we neared our destination, however all the doubts running through my head about our campground and cabin were quickly relieved when I saw the lovely cabin that would be our home for the next 2 nights.
And the views were nothing less than breathtaking! 

The view right behind our cabin!
Mackinac Bridge from a lookout point at our campgrounds

Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel visible from the beach
The following day I had my very first trip across the Mackinac Bridge and into the Upper Peninsula! I know it might not sound like much, but having been born and raised in Michigan and never getting up this far north, it was a big deal!
The view from the center of the Mackinac Bridge

My first time here! 
We stopped and ate lunch at a pizzeria that allowed us to eat on a patio overlooking the beautiful Great Lakes of Michigan (the Mackinac Straits is the connecting point of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan). We then decided to do something fun and different, and went to the world famous Mystery Spot in St. Ignace.
And being the "Doubting Thomas" that he is, my husband volunteered for all the spectacles to debunk the mystery as just optical illusions.


Even if it really is just one big optical illusion, it was a lot of fun that created memories we will share for a lifetime!

On the morning of our departure we decided to drive down to the Michilimackinac State Park, and walk along the sandy/pebble stone beach enjoying the wondrous views one last time.
And because it is a tradition my Grandmother taught me long ago, we took our shoes off and put our feet in the water to enjoy the feel of two Great Lakes at once!
The cabin was cute and extremely clean, the views were more lovely than I even dreamed, and it was a trip that was long overdue in my life. It may not have been technically camping in the traditional sense, but to this city girl it was as close to camping as I like to get!

Have you taken any trips this summer? What is your favorite vacation spot?