Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Monarch Story


Image courtesy of EDF.org
 I recently came across this inspiring story. I love its message of perseverance and strength. :)

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it could not go further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that at any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand: the restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.

PK


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

It always a spectacular thing when spring finally arrives, especially after a long, cold winter. Having grown up in Texas, where there's only two distinct seasons — hot and hotter — winter in Utah is something I'll never get use to. Like ever. Luckily, glorious spring never disappoints.

A couple of weekends ago, I attended to the annual Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point Gardens. 250,000 tulips across 55 acres in quite the sight to be seen. Here's some of my favorite blooms from the festival, along with some of my favorite quotes on flowers...

The earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~ Hans Christian Anderson
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~ Gerard De Nerval


Happiness held is a seed; happiness shared is the flower. ~ John Harrigan
I must have flowers, always, and always. ~ Claude Monet
The nature of this flower is to bloom. ~ Alice Walker
In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends. ~ Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea 
A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in - what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. ~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The Tulip Festival features over 100 varieties of tulips. Here's a display table listing the names a few of them.
For all my local friends, the festival runs through this Saturday, May 3. You definitely don't want to miss the opportunity to see Mother Nature in all her glory!

PK
Earth laughs in flowers.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/f/flowers_quotes.html#7Jhq1KDucJj355F7.99
Earth laughs in flowers.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/f/flowers_quotes.html#7Jhq1KDucJj355F7.99

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peeps & Polka Dots


When I came across this cute stamp in the dollar bin at Michaels, I knew exactly what to do with it. That almost never happens! I'm usually much more of a collector of craft supplies. :)

I have a friend who loves Peeps, those marshmallow chicks and bunnies that are so popular around Easter. I personally don't care for these sugary confections (they have a crazy long shelf life!), but they sure do make for a cute gift - especially when paired with an equally cute gift tag. 


I simply stamped the design with my favorite Onyx Black ink on a manila shipping tag. Then I colored the chick and shell with yellow and pink colored pencils for a soft pop of pastel color. Love the polka dots on the shell!



And, of course, I had to add wiggle eyes to the little chick. They added just the right amount of peepsonality to its peepers! Then I wrote a quick message on the back of the tag and secured it with a yellow polka dot ribbon from American Crafts (cause who doesn't love polka dot ribbon?).

I can't wait to leave this fun Easter gift on my friend's doorstop this weekend. I think she'll be tickled peep.

PK

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#myntmoment



 I wrote this short story for a new initiative we're launching at work called mynt. Geared towards the Gen Y community, mynt is all about living life on your terms. More than just making money, it's about nutrition and fitness, having fun and giving back. #myntmoments are those random acts of kindness that we've been blessed to give or receive. This is my myntmoment. My story of random kindness.

Many people think random acts of kindness have to be over-the-top gestures that require a lot time to plan and execute. Nothing could be further than the truth. Sometimes the most appreciated acts of kindness are those spur of the moment surprises that just happen.

Last year I was standing in line at Subway waiting to order my sandwich. The line was extra long that day and I was extra frustrated that it was taking longer than usual. When I finally got up to the counter and handed the cashier my money, she said, “Your husband already paid.” When I gave her a very confused look, she returned the look and said, “The guy in front of you paid for your sandwich. Don’t you know him?” Before I could even answer her, I looked to my right to thank the kind stranger, but he was already out the door and on his way. He clearly wasn’t expecting a thank you nor wanting one.

I was struck speechless by this man’s generosity. But more than that, I was struck how a single, fairly insignificant gesture could affect me so profoundly. It was a $5 sandwich. Nothing more. It required very little effort on his part, but it created a heart full of gratitude on mine. So much so that I now look for similar opportunities to pay it forward without the expectation of being acknowledged or thanked.

Small random acts of kindness are really just spur of the moment surprises. Who will you surprise with your kindness? #myntmoment

PK

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Other Side of Depo


Just like this post, The Other Side of Lortab, I'm happy to be done with my 3-month trial of Depo-Provera. Or as my family doctor calls it, Depo-ProSCAREa.

And when I say done, I mean D-O-N-E. Like NEVER EVER AGAIN! Unfortunately, it can take up to a year for all of the nasty side effects to completely disappear. I've learned doctors don't give disclaimers on certain drugs because every patient reacts differently to them. Some have no side effects at all and some have every side effect in the book. I would fall in the latter category.

While Depo-Provera is primarily used as a contraceptive, it's been known to be effective in the treatment of endometriosis. And when I woke up from my surgery last November, this first thing my doctor said was, "Moving forward, we're going to have to treat this aggressively." Which is why we went straight to Depo.

By suppressing ovulation, the goal of Depo-Provera is to keep all my crazy hormones calm, quiet and dormant. And theoretically, if this is accomplished, no new endometrial adhesions will form and life will be just peachy (insert sarcastic tone here). My life the last 3 months has been anything but peachy. More like an episode of LOST where I'm stranded on an island and nothing is what it seems.

Within a day of the injection, I started experiencing daily headaches and this weird pain in my side, right below my left rib cage. I started taking calcium pills (to counteract the effects of bone density loss from the shot) so I thought my body was just having a hard time digesting the big, fat horse pills. I switched to calcium chews and that seemed to help a little, but the pain continued, along with being bloated, gaseous and hungry ALL THE TIME. (Example: I went to the mall one afternoon and ravished a Philly cheesesteak and then followed it up with a corn dog because I was still hungry! Who does that?!) Then the pelvic pain and irregular bleeding started. The nurse warned me while my body was getting used to the shot, I would experience pain similar to the pain of endometriosis. I had to laugh at the irony. If this "treatment" is supposed to be helping me, then why is the pain worse than actual endometriosis? To stay sane, I was popping Advil every 4-6 hours. The Kelly Cocktail (3 Advil and a Coke) was my saving grace. Hair loss, weight gain, fatigue and mood swings came next.

Long story short, I was a mess.

But during those long 12 weeks, I had plenty of time to do research (knowledge is power after all) and was strangely comforted that I wasn't alone in my struggles. On AskAPatient.com, Depo Provera users rated their experience with the shot. Out of 2,102 responses, with 1 being "extremely dissatisfied" and 5 being "highly satisfied", the average rating was 2.1 "not satisfied". After reading through many of the comments, I found myself nodding in agreement, in fascination, and in horror. I actually felt guilty because many of the experiences were far worse than mine. So many referred to Depo as "synthetic poison" and "it will ruin your life". I can't say I disagree.

As the appointment for my second shot approached, I was anxious to speak to the doctor about other treatment options because like I said before, I was D-O-N-E with Depo. She listened sweetly as I rattled off all the side effects I was experiencing and let me vent for awhile. I'm sure she's heard it all before. But she also mentioned she has patients who have been on it for 5 years and love it. Grrr...

After careful consideration, she asked what I thought about a IUD (intrauterine device). Mirena, to be exact. This plastic, t-shaped device is placed in the uterus and slowly releases the same hormone that's found in Depo, progesterone. The advantages for endometriosis patients: the hormone stays in your uterus instead of traveling through your blood stream and causing all the horrible side effects. It also lasts up to 5 years or can be removed at any time by a physician. My sister, who also has endo, has had the Mirena implant for the last year or so. It's worked well for her and kept her pain at bay. The one disadvantage: she has had more ovarian cysts with the device. I asked my doctor about this and she said while it doesn't cause cysts to form, it doesn't prevent them like the pill or other treatments do. And these types of cysts usually resolve themselves within a couple of months.

So, we're going to see how Mirena works for me. The "installation" was not fun. I guess the pain is worse for women who haven't had children since the device must pass through the cervix before it reaches the uterus. I had pretty bad cramping and spotting for a day or two, but the pain subsided. I had so much fun telling my male boss I was going to be working from home due to a "procedure". I could tell he wanted more information, but knowing my past female issues, he just nodded and wished me well. Good choice! It's been about a month, but I can already tell my pelvic pain is better. And I'm happy to report I'm completely off my daily consumption of Advil. Not by choice, but after taking it habitually for the last 9 months, I'm more concerned about the effects it's having on my liver and the lining of my stomach. We'll see if I can stay off the Kelly Cocktail...it is so addicting!

In hindsight, this last year has been a game changer for me. Health is no longer a gift I take for granted. I'm proactive and intend to stay this way until I find the best treatment that is right for me. If I can help anyone who is currently dealing with endometriosis or similar issues, I'll sleep well. And because laughter through tears is my favorite emotion (love that movie!), I had to share this ecard:


PK (#endosister)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Valentine Gift Box


I love personalized gift wrap. Boxes, bags, tags, oh my!

One of my last duties at Paper Crafts magazine (now Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine) was to design two projects for the Jan/Feb Simple Printables column. Since they ended up merging Paper Crafts and Creating Keepsakes into one magazine (now monthly and digital-only), my two projects were lucky enough to be spread out over two issues.

My favorite of the two projects is this Happy Valentine's Day Gift Box found in the February 2014 issue. It's kind of crazy to think I made it last August!


I went with the trendy melon and mint color palette, which just happens to be featured in PC&S's March 2014 issue (Trend Talk column). The beauty of these Simple Printable projects is they're made with a FREE download featured in each magazine. I loved the chalkboard feel of the Happy Valentine's Day graphic, and immediately envisioned it on a cute little gift box.

I simply printed, trimmed, and matted it with pink/melon cardstock. Then I added a few stickers from the Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm collection. My favorite touch was using a date stamp to stamp the "Feb 14 2014" (in mint, of course!). I won't even begin to tell you how many times I had to stamp it to get a perfect impression!

To download the Happy Valentine's Day graphic, click HERE.

And here's a complete list of supplies:

SUPPLIES:  Collection: (arrow die cut, chipboard heart stickers from Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm collection) American Crafts  Cardstock: (Strawberry Slush) Stampin’ Up!; (white)  Rubber stamp: (Remember This And That Rotary) Stampin’ Up!  Pigment ink: (Celadon) Clearsnap  Digital element: (sentiment) PaperCraftsMag.com  Adhesive: 3M  Other: (gift box)  Finished size: 3 1/2" square

If you're needing a fun birthday option, check out my Make a Wish Gift Box in the January 2014 issue.


To download the Make a Wish graphic, click HERE.

Here's to quick and easy gift wrap!
PK

Monday, December 23, 2013

Candy Cane Popcorn


This recipe should really be called Candy Cane Crack Popcorn because I literally can't stop eating it.

Perhaps the addiction comes from the combination of sinful ingredients. You be the judge.

Here's the recipe:


I dare you to just eat one bite. Or even two. :)

Enjoy!
PK

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Be Merry Banner

 
Ah...Christmas! My favorite holiday of the year. I love decorating my home this time of year, especially with handmade (or pseudo-handmade) pieces.

I bought these mini stockings a few years back. I was going to make gifts for my co-workers, but it turns out they don't hold more than a piece of candy or two, so back in my Christmas bin they went.

Until last year...

When I opened my bin, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a whimsical banner to enjoy every year!

This project was so easy to make. Supplies: $1 stockings from Michaels, EK Success X-Large Snowflake Punch, Pebbles Corrugated Alphabet Stickers, white cardstock, red rhinestones, and Glue Dots.

Simply punch the snowflakes from the cardstock, add a letter sticker to the middle, and place red rhinestones on each snowflake tip. Then adhere each snowflake to the middle of each stocking.

The best part...the little hooks on the stockings made it so easy to thread a white satin ribbon through!

Here's to being merry!
PK

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Fine Day



After months of planning, the big day was finally here. Most of my hard work, sweat, and tears was wrapped up in the rehearsal dinner, which just happened to be on the Fourth of July. To read about my 120 hand stamped place cards (never again!) along with the 120 cupcakes with stamped "Love is Sweet" picks, check out these two posts on the Paper Crafts Connection blog:

Let Freedom (& Wedding) Bells Ring
Let Freedom (& Wedding) Bells Ring, Part II

It's funny…there was so much work that went into the rehearsal dinner. Mostly because all the decorations were handmade and required a lot of patience (to make, to set up and take down). And I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'd love celebrating the Fourth of July on an old-fashioned paddle boat surrounded by all of our family and Holly's closest friends. That said, it was a great relief NOT to have to do much for the actual wedding day, besides performing my Maid of Honor duties.

The days leading up to the wedding, I had a manicure/pedicure, waxed my eyebrows, and got my first spray tan. The morning of the wedding, all of the bridesmaids, my mom, my mom's best friend of 40+ years, and our "Little" flower girl McCall gathered in the bridal suite for a few hours of pampering and girl time.

I love this picture to pieces!
Holly ordered pizza and we took turns sitting in the make-up chair and getting our hair done. It was my first time having my make-up airbrushed on (the secret to flawless skin) and trying out fake eyelashes. The results are amazing! If Holly was Cinderella for the day, I felt like the Fairy Godmother with a magical makeover. 

Sadly at midnight, the tan disappeared and the fake eyelashes fell off.
But before the clock struck midnight, there was countless breathtaking moments. Here's just a few (courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography, the official wedding photographers):

It's show time!
The Father of the Bride and his girls.
Snow Bride and the Seven Bridemaids
The Ring Bearer holding a cute sign for the Groom.
The well-dressed Groomsmen sporting their new Proof sunglasses!

The gorgeous rotunda at the Pelican Hill Resort.
A part of the ceremony included a handfasting ritual.
Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Hendrix!
Sealed with a kiss!
The Smith-Hendrix Wedding Party
The Groom's Family
The Bride's Family 
The Mother of the Bride and Holly
The kids had so much fun playing in the petals after the ceremony.
Then it was time for the reception! Here's the gorgeous tables.


The suspended wedding cake was a big hit!   
And it took a miracle (or just the right song!) to get Brent dancing.  
The Co-Maid of Honor and Brent hug it out.

  
This picture sums up a perfect day. My dad said it best: "It was a ridiculous, over the top wedding, but Holly's ridiculously happy."

Congratulations, Holly & Brent!

Love, 
PK

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fiesta-Themed Couples Shower


Before Holly’s glamorous wedding, her bridesmaids threw her and Brent a Fiesta-themed couples shower in Dallas. Since Brent grew up in El Paso and loves Mexican food more than anything, this theme was a no brainer.

Holly’s seven bridesmaids divided up the assignments with her friend Alayna volunteering to host the party in her backyard. It must be said that most of the work was done by Alayna and her husband (who opened up their lovely home) and Chelsea, a fellow bridesmaid and party planner extraordinaire. My modest contribution was this umbrella wreath (an idea I found on Pinterest):

All you need to recreate this wreath is a Styrofoam circle, a bright ribbon, and a box of umbrella drink picks (I bought an assortment of 72 picks at Hobby Lobby for $4.99).
Alayna and her husband set up tables in their backyard and had a yummy fajita dinner catered with homemade tortillas. There was a Mariachi band playing some sweet Spanish tunes and even the light on-and-off rain added to the evening’s ambiance.

Chelsea pretty much handled the majority of the decorations, which included wild flower centerpieces for each of the tables, a fun display for her Margarita-flavored cupcakes and these colorful invitations:


After we finished eating, the guests were divided into 4 groups with someone from each group selected to be the “bride”. The objective was simple: create the most gorgeous wedding dress…out of toilet paper! The best part of this little game was someone managed to talk Brent into playing the role of blushing bride. And the first order of business was to strip him half naked so the magic could begin!


Then it was each bride’s turn to walk down the “aisle” to determine who had the best wedding dress, and more importantly, who wore their dress the best. 

The Toga Bride
The Debutante Bride
The Mummy Bride
The Sexy Bride
It was a tough competition, but Brent stole the show! 
Who knew toilet paper could be so versatile? :)

PK