Keys tomorrow?

Remember how I mentioned two weeks ago that packing had begun in earnest? I kinda lied. We packed those two evenings and then sat around for a week, mainly because we hit another snafu in the house-buying process. I envy whoever is having a smooth home-buying transition! I hear that this is just how it goes sometimes, and now I feel like we have plenty of firsthand knowledge we can pass on to all our friends. I hesitate to even say this out loud based on what a rollercoaster this has been, but it does indeed look like we are receiving the keys to the house tomorrow, right in time for a moving party Saturday morning. How’s that for living on the edge?

Back to packing, most everything is now in some sort of box except for the contents of the fridge, pantry items, and random d├ęcor that I never know what to do with. Our apartment looks like a disaster but a lot of the clutter is due to the Goodwill pile smack dab in the middle of the room, which we’ll be delivering tonight.

Shoe box
My shoe box! Minus the seven pairs I kept out “just in case I needed them.”

Party favors for a baby shower

Since we covered the actual baby shower yesterday, let’s talk baby shower party favors. My initial idea was to find miniature baby bottles, glue a ribbon around them, and fill them with candy. Easy and cute! But finding bottles proved to be much more of a challenge than I anticipated. Using actual baby bottles would’ve been more expensive than I preferred, and I couldn’t find the right size of bottles I wanted. I found some on Amazon in bulk and ordered them based off the picture, but when they arrived they were much too small – more like play baby bottles for kids! I scoured craft stores and dollar stores but to no avail, so I scrapped the idea and went for these instead.
Martha's, not mine!

Pinterest introduced me to these cute bath fizzies housed in mini mason jars, courtesy of Martha Stewart. I thought these would be perfect because, a) They aren’t bad for you, unlike candy; b) They make cute decorations for the shower; c) Even if no one uses them, they look cute anyway! Plus you get a mason jar.

Making the fizzies was easier than I thought it would be, though I do recommend watching the instructional video on her site and not just using the written directions. I recommend this for a couple of reasons:
  • It’s funny to watch Martha interact with the underlings
  • The instructions in the video directly contradict the instructions written on her website. For example, the site says that the mixture should become damp but not fizzy, while the video shows Martha and her assistants spraying the mixture and saying things like, “Watch it fizz! Spray it some more!” I’m paraphrasing but you get the picture – completely contradictory.
I used two types of molds for my fizzies: heart-shaped ice cube trays and plastic candy molds. Both worked very well for this project but the fizzies popped out easier from the candy molds rather than the ice cube trays. I had to be more delicate and patient while removing the fizzies from the ice cube trays or I’d crush them.

The heart-shaped ice cube trays -- I went a little lighter on the
blue food coloring than I should have.

The mold on the left is for chocolate truffles and the one on the
right is for peanut butter cups (or something similar).

The process is pretty straightforward: combine the ingredients, moisten them, pack into the molds and let dry overnight, and pop them out and put them into the jars. Easy! I scented mine with lavender essential oil and the apartment smelled like we’d been lavender-bombed. Seriously, it was STRONG. Then I ran the ice cube trays through the dishwasher and everything ELSE smelled like lavender.We may as well have had lavender-scented dish soap! I thought it was lovely but Mark thought it was a bit much.

Here is an almost-finished jar, accented with ribbon:

You can kind of see how the fizzy is shaped like a peanut
butter cup.

And here is a box of them with their "labels" I made from scrapbook paper and a 1-1/2 inch circular paper punch:


I was so happy they turned out! I felt like this was a project that could've been doomed to fail but they made it out just fine. Granted, I DID start two weeks in advance because projects like these inevitably take a much longer time to finish than you anticipate (especially for me) and this was no different. So here's to saying NO to procrastinating and YES to Martha Stewart!

Tackled any crafty projects lately?

Baby shower!

I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago and we had a grand time decorating onesies, eating sweets, and opening presents! Well, just Kelly on that last one. :)

One of the girls made these sweet pinwheels out of scrapbook paper (tutorial here), which we taped to the wall but you could also hang. She also made a paper garland out of scrapbook paper, which we hung across our main window. She said the pinwheels required a bit of effort but the paper garland was quite easy--I love how all of it turned out!

The pinwheels turned out so pro.

You can see the garland in the background, but we all know who the
real star of the picture is! And yes, the drinks were non-alcoholic. :)

We also had a station where guests could decorate a onesie for baby Parker. Megan (also pictured above) brought adorable iron-on appliques -- little bow ties, regular ties, animals -- and sandpaper and crayons. You may be asking, what's with the sandpaper and the crayons? Megan discovered on Pinterest that if you drew a design onto the gritty side of sandpaper with crayons, then flipped over the design onto the fabric and ironed over it, the design would transfer to the fabric! Really, it was just like magic. And SO easy.

See the owl and the sailboat? That's what you can do with the sandpaper
and the crayons. And that giraffe is just ADORABLE.

Some more iron-ons: bow-ties are always winners!
And lastly, our food spread:

Click the photo to enlarge it, those cake pops are seriously professional!
And the cupcakes look like owls but you might not be able to tell from
this distance; I forgot to get a close-up.

Megan did the cake pops and the cupcakes, Tina did the crackers and cheese platter, and I did the fruit skewers. Fruit skewers are one of my favorite party foods to make: they are healthy, require little prep, and look so pretty! I used strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes. I bought the pineapple and cantaloupe already diced, eliminating some prep work, but still had to halve each chunk and also cut the strawberries. It does take some time to skewer them all so you'll want to allow yourself about a minute per skewer. Sometimes I went faster than that but at times the fruit would break off the skewer or a grape would look a little funky and need to be replaced.

What I would do differently:

1. Organize the schedule better. Normally I'm pretty good at planning events down to the minute but what with the last-minute prep work and cleaning, I somehow completely spaced that part. Scheduling was necessary here since we had mingling time in the beginning, a game, a time for opening presents, and the decorating of the onesies.

2. Flowers! In my defense, I looked for an arrangement at Safeway the day of the party but they just didn't have anything I liked that was remotely reasonable. But never underestimate the effect of a fresh bouquet! Next time: a quick run to Pike Place.

3. Move the onesies station from the guest room into the living room. We did actually end up doing this near the last hour of the party because no one would separate themselves from the rest of the group to go to the guest room. I did have a reason for keeping the ironing separate in the first place, though: a child was originally going to be present at the shower and I wasn't sure if I wanted the hot iron in the main area where she might be running around. But she and her mom weren't able to make it so that risk was averted. I still don't know if I would've moved it if she were present, though. Anyone have advice on that?

A new favorite foundation

Makeup mavens, listen up! I’ve found the most amazing foundation and from the drugstore, no less! I’m a self-proclaimed high-end foundation snob who typically gets her foundation from Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier counters at Nordstrom, so if I’m jazzed about a drugstore foundation then it must be good.

Revlon PhotoReady foundation

One of my feet-on-the-couch, need-some-girl-time guilty pleasures is watching beauty videos/tutorials on YouTube. Really, I could waste SO much time watching people review their latest makeup finds or creating cool eye looks. One of my favorite YouTubers is Emily from Beauty Vlogcast; she’s a news anchorwoman in real life and makes makeup videos in her spare time and I love them all. I’d heard her mention the Revlon PhotoReady liquid foundation in a couple of videos and wondered if I should check it out. And man am I glad I did. Ulta happened to be having a 40% off Revlon sale when I was there so I picked up both the foundation and the Revlon color-correcting primer.

One of my main beefs with drugstore foundation (besides quality—sad but true) is the lack of testability. It’s difficult to pick your correct shade when you can’t open a bottle to test it on your hand or your face. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a shade that’s too light, too rosy, too dark, too SOMETHING. But I got pretty darn close with my Revlon purchase by doing the following:

  • I brought my current foundation for comparison: a conveniently small-sized Bobbi Brown foundation stick. I’m sure I looked silly holding up my foundation stick to several bottles but hey, it got the job done.
  • Find the windows! Obviously you can’t do this in every drugstore but natural light is a much better indicator of what a foundation actually looks like than those horrendous fluorescent lights. I just grabbed a couple of Revlon bottles and took them over to the window to see how the foundation stick compared to them in real lighting.
I’ve only used the foundation in concert with the primer so I can’t vouch for it on its own, but the two together are a wonderful combo. I don’t know how well the primer actually does at color correcting, but it makes my face feel baby-smooth and prepped for foundation. The foundation is relatively lightweight, dries to a smooth matte finish, and doesn’t budge. I went for a four-mile run and then lifted weights for 45 minutes at the gym yesterday and my face still looked airbrushed. I was IMPRESSED.

Revlon PhotoReady foundation goes for $12.99 at Ulta but you can easily find sales or coupons! I’m always getting Ulta mailers with coupons for $3.50 off a $10.00 purchase.

Packing

The packing has begun in earnest in the Seymour household! It’s unbelievable how much stuff we’ve accumulated in the past four years. In college I could fit my life into two suitcases (and check them for free)! My boss asked me if we were hiring movers and when I said we were going the friends-and-family route, he said, “Yeah, this will be the last time you do THAT again.” Mo’ square footage, mo’ stuff!

Most of our books—and we have TONS of books—have found their way into boxes, as well as our games and some of our kitchen appliances. My poor stand mixer has to sit alone and unused in a box for a few weeks while we’re in transition. The Good Will pile is growing and Mark will have to put aside his mild OCD while the apartment is in complete disarray.

Isn’t it always when you start packing that you find items you think you lost? We went down to the storage unit to look for the kitchen appliance boxes and I found ornaments from two years ago hiding in the stand mixer box. I looked everywhere for those ornaments and finally bought new ones because I couldn’t figure out what I did with them!

In the meantime, the first casualty was suffered in the name of moving. A friend gave me a Christmas cookie jar a couple of years ago and it somehow fell off the shelf of the storage unit while we were moving boxes and shattered on the concrete floor. What can you do, one less thing to move, right?

An {unhelpful} house update

Just letting everyone know there is no update… yet. We still haven’t gotten out of the appraisal stage – there was a slight hiccup with the appraisal of the house and the bank is reviewing it for errors. We should be hearing back about it soon, but we’ve also been saying that for days now.

Our plan was to move on the 21st but it doesn’t look like that will happen since the closing has been pushed to the 20th. I suppose we still could, but we’d have to rent the truck in advance and there’s no guarantee (yet) that closing will actually happen by the 20th. After all, we were originally supposed to close today! But our loan officer said this is just a sign of the times and nowadays nine out of ten loans go through these kind of hiccups and scrutiny. I just wish we could know for sure what was going to happen because it would motivate me to pack!

My co-worker said her daughter got plenty of packing boxes for free at Marshall’s just by asking if they had any boxes they wanted to get rid of, so I went to Ross (basically the same thing?) and asked for boxes. They didn’t have any but the security girl told me to go to Old Navy, and I walked out of there yesterday with about 20 sturdy, already broken-down boxes! First hurdle down. Next hurdle? Actually putting things in the boxes. Mark packed two-thirds of a bookshelf last night while I went through all of our wedding/post-wedding cards that have been residing in a wicker box in the guest room. And good thing I actually went through them all because I found an REI gift card for $100! Fun freebies aside, I enjoyed going through all the cards again and reading the sweet sentiments. :) Afterward we couldn’t pack anything else because though I had procured some awesome boxes, I didn’t bring home any packing tape to put them together. Tonight, I suppose.