Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Everyone knows I live in a small town. Living in a small town is funny because often times when you feel like you are doing something ordinary or expected with your life and if you are moderately successful, people make it seem like a big deal. I own a gift shop and a wholesale business specializing in home decor and personalized gifts. It is what I chose to do. It is my vocation. But in a small town... I get treated as if I am a big deal. The local magazine does a 2 page article with a lovely photograph of my mother and I. Anywhere else it is good press, here in eugene you are a "local celebrity"... for about a month anyway until the next issue comes out. I mean easy come easy go...

However I have noticed recently that it is not difficult to let this mentality go to your head. I have known people who act very stuck up simply because of the fact that they get so much attention for the things they do. I have a store filled with things that I consider beautiful. I love what I do for many reasons... but mostly it is because I like to be surrounded by what is beautiful. I don't think that this is common for a lot of people who have "made it big" (which by the way I laughed as I was writing those words). They push people around and make promises they don't keep. They walk around and while they do get recognized around town they seem to forget that they are just a big fish in a little pond.

Eugene, OR

This notion has lead me to really think about this. With the fact that I do have a moderately successful and (to me) charming and little life. I get treated like I am someone to pay attention to sometimes. Someone I went to high school with actually called me big shot when I ran into them last week.


At the same time I think about what makes me the happiest. Beautiful things, new experiences, relaxation, contentment, laughter, loyal friends, love, family, travel, fresh air, the outdoors - These are the things that make me happy...

In knowing these things and thinking about my little life here in Eugene... it really does beg the question...

Am I happier as a big fish in a small town? Or would I prefer to be a little fish in a big world? Someone small living there life inconsequentially. Flying under the radar. I don't really enjoy the hustle bustle of living in a big city, but I don't like living under the microscope either.

How do I find middle ground?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

OMG... My head is spinning!

I dont know about the rest of you... but it has been absolutely bonkers recently! So I am going to make this post brief... as in mostly photos!!
My wonderful boyfriend will be spending thanksgiving in this fabulous city... I am trying not to be jealous. Not really working. Trying not to miss him too much... failing miserably! :(

 I AM looking forward to TURKEY DAY~ My parents are having 12 at their house this year! It is going to be a blast...
We are having our Holiday Party at the Store the day after thanksgiving where we will be having mimosas, food, and fun times with all of our lovely friends and family who have been so supportive of our business... also MAJORLY celebrating our new expansion!!
Later that day (after I pick up the boy at the airport :)  ) we will be having a fun afternoon with this man!! Who hopefully will defeat Arizona and then of course OSU and make it to the National Championship!! Whoop Whoop!
Side note- he looks terrifying. 
Then on Saturday night we will round out the weekend and kick off the holidays at the Festival of Trees Black Tie Gala! Which is going to be SO MUCH FUN!!

Thats all for now... I am off to bed. I have to work in the morning! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Notes from Iphone land...

Alright... I hate the scramble and fury that is caused by new technology... HATE. IT. However I needed a new iphone. I ended up getting the second generation of iphone a few months after it came out over 3 YEARS ago... and it has lasted me this long (not to brag, but I never needed it serviced and I made it that long without applecare! whoop! I also dropped it about a million times too... way to go apple for making good products).

So anyway... I have been needing to get a new one because whenever I got a call and a text at the same time... the phone would just turn off! After the Iphone 4 came out I decided to wait until they had them regularly in stock. I am not going to play at&t's little wait list game. I called about once a month and now that the new Windows 7 phone came out... they have iphones in stock. thank goodness! I have to say... I AM COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH THIS PHONE!!!

I am uploading HD videos on you tube of gracie, downloading fun apps, video chatting my friends (who are over it because most of them have had the phone since May), syncing my calender for work, the whole nine yards!

Here are some of the fun things I have found that I must share with all of you...

1. Paint me application:

Holy Cow! We have been looking for someone to take a photograph of the store and paint it for us and then we would want to scan it to use for invitations to our "Pillow Talk Social Hour" parties, facebook, etc. This application takes a photograph and turned it into a PDF painting! Here are some samples of what I have done:

This is now our new facebook profile picture. 

This is the photo that we are using for our christmas party invitation


2. Customized cases:

I haven't ordered one yet because I for sure went overboard on amazon.com 2 days ago ordering cases for my phone... BUT I found this template designer blog this morning and its SO CUTE! Especially if you were just married or had a baby... any professional photos would be really adorable. 

You can buy sets of these templates at: go4prophotos.com
And then order the actual cases from either coveroo.com
Or if you prefer just a skin skinit.com

3. Open Table: Make dinner reservations from your phone...

I use this website anyway before I go out of town. Now I can take 2 seconds go on my phone and make a dinner reservation in any city. ALSO they only work with high caliber restaurants and they make recommendations to you if you are in an unfamiliar city. I LOVE IT.

Anyway! Thats all for now! I am signing off with one more hilarious thing I found on the net...

Steve Jobs bobble head/iphone charger- I mean... why not?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

dream car... and a random fact about my family!

I am hoping one day to get a gem like this one AND in honor of one of my favorite movies - The Life Aquatic...

I would naturally name it...
"The Belafonte"
WITH a personalized name plate reading "BEL FON"

I know that seems odd to a lot of you however something you must know about my family... A funny quirk if you will- we name ALL of our cars. No joke... on my parent's first date, my mom complimented my dad on his car. His response was "yeah... thats Vinnie the Volvo" SO WEIRD. 

Right now I drive "Ginger" the 07 ford escape, My sister drives "Gladys" the 1999 Land Rover Discovery, my mom drives "Martha" the 2006 Lexus SUV, and My dad drives "The bullet" a 2005 Ford Explorer. 

Anyway... yeah. thats my family! :)

And of course if you havent ever seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou... add it to the netflix list...

"Let me tell you about my boat..." 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Neiman Marcus Popovers (recipe included!)

Ever since I was a little girl my mother used to take me for lunch at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus whenever we went to San Francisco. It is still my favorite place to go for a bite when I am in the city. Among all of the amazing things on the menu... my favorite thing they serve there is still the popovers with Strawberry butter. After waiting impatiently all morning for our special lunch I would walk into the gorgeous restaurant surrounding the foyer of the store and sit in the luxurious booth (hopefully close to the balcony) and the waiter would immediately come with sparkling water and these delicious pastries.

The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus: San Francisco

Popovers were always something that my family cooked during the holidays. My dad used to make them all the time in college because they were so easy to make and were made with very little ingredients. To this day they remind me of all of the special trips I have taken down to San Francisco whether to see relatives, for the San Francisco Cotillion, or simply just to go shopping... Every trip was special and this was a major part of it. 

I found the recipe online this week! So here they are! I thought I would share it with all of you because they would make a wonderful addition to any holiday dinner...

Neiman Marcus Popovers:

3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature 

Place milk in bowl and microwave on High (100 percent power) for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in large mixing bowl. Crack eggs into work bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk, and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down mixer to low and add warm milk.
Gradually add flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn machine off and let batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Spray popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill popover cups almost to the top with batter and place popover tin on cookie sheet. Transfer to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down oven temperature to 375 F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until popovers are deep golden brown outside and airy inside.
Turn out popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter. Makes 12 popovers.
Note: Chef Garvin advises: "The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it. Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day."

Also: My dad used to put a tablespoon of melted butter into every tin rather than using cooking spray... Not to tarnish the fabulous recipe. But that is the way he makes them. :) 
Strawberry Butter:

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup good quality strawberry preserves

Place butter in work bowl of electric mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. Add preserves and beat until well combined. To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into ramekins or onto side plates. Makes about 2 ½ cups.
Note: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. This spread will last for two to three days.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you ever find yourself in downtown San Francisco looking for a yummy place to eat, this is my number 1 pick (though you might want to call in advance as it can fill up pretty quick!)

It is particularly special during the holidays... as you could probably tell from the gorgeous photo of the giant tree! :) 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy November!!

Looking forward to thanksgiving...

Things are getting chilly...

If you haven't been living under a rock... you saw the

Hopefully I will have time to post more! With the Holidays coming up things have been nutty at work!! Its only going to get worse...

We are preparing for... BLACK FRIDAY!

Which should actually be really fun because we are doing an little event at my store. That day there is a football game so we are opening the shop from 8AM-3PM and will have "breakfast appetizers" , coffee, and mimosas. We are making our store the place you stop when you want to sit and relax, yes obviously there is shopping. But given that our shop is mostly personalized gifts, you have to pick out colors and monograms anyway! So we are going to try and make it fun and more of a social atmosphere at our store. 

I cant wait!!

How cute are these for a party... I hope they catch on!
 I mean who wants to eat a HUGE meal at a social function... 
and morning parties are so cute!