Saturday, December 30, 2006


One more baby step: I've signed up for an account. I'm not a registered seller yet, but that will come soon, and I will, at last, have some cards for sale.

As for the changes, it looks like Ruby Red may be a my own stationery and handcrafted product line for a different type of business than I originally decided to start.

So, to date:

1. I am selling vintage fashion and home accessories at the antique mall.
2. I am about to sell vintage sewing and craft notions, along with my own crafty things, under the Etsy ID "vintagenotions".
3. I am starting to write more, and hope to possibly incorporate my vintage, antique, and crafty interests into possible articles and/or books.

And, I am hoping to one day tie all of these interests together under the roof of one little boutique shop where people can shop for everything from an indie-crafted plushie animal to a cabinet to house their plate collection or craft supplies.

It will have vintage clothing, jewelry, hats, bags, and other accessories mingled with hand-crafted items and original art and user-friendly antiques and fine "junk".

There will, of course, be a red door and a chandelier, and the coolest jazz and indie music you could ever ask for playing in the background.

But, for now, I'm happy with my baby steps ...

Friday, December 29, 2006

ICBIIB! (I Can't Believe I'm In Business!)

I didn't visit my case at the antiques mall for over a week because I was busy and Christmas shopping. Well, ok, that's not the real reason.

The real reason I didn't visit was I was scared.

What have I gotten myself into? Bad grammar aside (ending a sentence in a preposition, oh my!), I have been contemplating the ramifications of loosing $55 a month to a case full of inventory that just sat there.

Then, yesterday, I dropped by, just to rearrange things and keep the case looking fresh.

When I got there, the case looked different. It took me a minute to realize that items were out of place (wow! people have actually looked at the stuff!) and some items were--could it be?!!!--MISSING.

Hallelujah, I made a sale. Somebody stop me before I hyperventilate.

The good new got even better ... two of the items that sold were, in fact, the most expensive ones in the case. A gaudy gold Louis XIV-type mirror (plastic, vintage, so-hideous-it's-gorgeous) and a bakelite bangle. The bangle I had gotten by luck for around $1. I sold it for $25, no questions asked.

I'm giddy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm addicted

I have a new obsession ... vintage/retro plastic costume jewelry, especially anything lucite or bakelite.

That's "bake-uh-light."

Bangles, in particular, have caught my fancy, but I am also fond of lucite purses from the '60s, carved bakelite pins or buttons from the '30s and '40s (I really, really want a black Scottie dog pin, but they're $25 or more), and funky lucite rings from the '70s.

Bakelite has a sniff-test as a preliminary gauge of its authenticity. I went to the Tennessee Flea Market this past weekend, and I can only imagine what passers-by must have thought when I rummaged through piles of vintage junk, grabbed a suspicious-looking piece, rubbed my thumb across it until it warmed in that spot, and then sniffed it tentatively. If I smelled the right smell (a distinctive formaldehyde-type scent reminiscent of high school biology lab days), then I was very, very tempted to buy it!

Unfortunately, the best pieces I found (vintage pot-holder loom and a fun green cuff bracelet) were at an antique jewelry booth where the owner new his stuff. I would have had to fork out $20 for the bracelet and more for the "loom".

In the end, I came home with two boxes of vintage buttons (a score were the big red carved buttons I suspect could be bakelite!), a couple of brightly colored children's birthday cards from the '40s, and what I think might be a moonglow plastic bangle bracelet from anywhere from the '60s to the '80s -- I can't tell.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ruby Red Began!

Big news.

Though the name may possibly change, and thought the focus has changed, the reality is still the same: I took a baby step on Sunday and officially rented case space at an antiques/home decor mall in Nashville.

Yep, peeps. After nearly two years of thinkin', and hopin', and wishin' … I'm officially in business!

I'm selling vintage-y things, with hopes to expand into larger "antiques" (of the primitive, cottage-style, or shabby chic variety), original art, and delicious little indie-crafts, if I can sell enough stuff to pay the rent each month. The way I see it? There are worse ways to spend $55 per month. Even if I don't make a cent off my new venture, I'll still learn a bunch about starting a mini-biz, and that can't hurt.

I'm finishing up my Christmas cards for this year and taking the extras over to the mall to sell--my love affair with paper and boutique-style cards has not changed, even if my business venture has! This year's cards are fab. I took a generic card base, added a tea-stained photocopy of a 1920's magazine story, then piled on pieces from vintage Christmas postcards, and topped it all off with pieces of vintage costume jewelry, Swarovski crystals, glitter--or all three!

So, if you have an extra $5, twenty minutes, and a hankering to go antiquing, take a little side trip to the GasLamp Antique Mall (Armory Drive exit off of I-65) in Nashville and visit case S112.

p.s. In honor of this new venture, I will most likely start a new blog. Look for it soon!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's been a long time!

Wow. A lot–and I mean A LOT–can happen in two months.

I got a job and have had some interesting experiences. That's the short version. The long version could take an entire day to write about, so I will merely state it in list form.

August 7 - First day of work. I am dog-sitting for a friend in the morning and working a part-time job at night the entire week.
August 24 - My car fails the emissions test
August 28 - Broke my right foot
August 31 - My license plate expires
September 1 - Pre-Busy season starts at work
September 8 - While out painting pottery with a friend, I lock my keys in my car. We wait until nearly midnight for the locksmith. The good pottery people wait with us.
September 15 - My brakes make horrific grinding noise ... I take my car to the shop and convince my brother to let me borrow his Civic while he rides his motorcycle for a week.
September 18 - Busy season starts at work
September 21 - Get my car back from the shop.
September 22 - My Check Battery light goes on. I can't figure out why. After work, I go to Autozone and ask the guy to check my battery. It has full charge. My pottery-painting friend and myself decide to go to a movie in Nashville. Half-way there, my alternator dies. I have just enough charge to cross from the HOV lane to the side of the road. We wait two hours for the wrecker and then squeeze into it with two slightly scary truck operators we later nickname Chris Rock and Skanky Boy. We decide that we shouldn't hang out together on Friday nights anymore!
September 23 - My car died with the windows and moonroof open. It pours that night and morning. I still have damp carpets to this day. I get a rental car.
September 29 - I get my car back. It drives, but it stinks.
September 30 - I take the rental car back. And go to a kid's movie with my pottery-painting friend. We figure we're safe since it's a Saturday. The movie projector breaks twice during the film (of course!), but we score free tickets.
October 2 - The Official CRAZY Season starts at work. I need to figure out how to clone myself.

Which brings us to today, in which the most eventful thing that happens is I woke up an hour later than usual ... which would normally mean I would be late, but for me, who has been going in two hours early every day, it only means that I am a mere 30 minutes early, which I choose to use blogging for the first time in over a month, instead of prepping for the day. Hey, a girl can only handle so much.

But I still have to figure out how to squeeze three weeks worth of work into the next four days. We're THAT busy. You can't produce 80+ catalogs in a single month without being, well, swamped.

So, I'll write again later. But for now, I have to get back to work.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Laugh's on you, Human Resources. I already got an equitable job ... with the exact same credentials you found lacking. So there.

Thank you for applying for the position of Editorial Assistant. All the applications received have been reviewed and evaluated. We took care to review your credentials thoroughly and have come to the difficult decision that your candidacy is no longer under consideration. Determining a small group of finalists was a difficult and lengthy process. Those who have emerged are considered to have the skills, knowledge and experience that more closely meet the needs of the department.

Again, thank you for your interest in employment at ____________. I hope there may be other employment opportunities of interest to you in the future.

Human Resources

Actual, factual ultra-personal (hah!) e-mail received today. Honestly, though the job looked good, I wasn't holding my breath.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Who am I?

Just a little existential question for the day. Nothing major.

Well, actually, it was the question for yesterday, and I got the answer today. Boy, that was quick! My manager didn't know my official title, so I think he made one up. This is because I am the first person to be full-time in the position.

Are you ready for this? I am (at work) an Assistant Account Executive.

That sounds so important.

I've been hard at work for two days now, and I think I'm getting the hang of my basic tasks. Of course, once I master those, they're going to fling a few dozen more at me. I say bring it on!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Career advice for college students

Me, Myself, & I
Wow, this feels so weirdly familiar. Didn't I just do this two years ago?

I start my new job as an assistant at an advertising agency on Monday morning in Nashville. 8 a.m. sharp. Please, oh, please, don't let there be any wrecks on 24 or 65!

Two years ago, I was as green and fresh-faced out of college as they get. I had full faith that graduating magna cum laude was a good sign I'd succeed. Today, I'm older (sshhh!) and wiser (hah!) and a wee bit more cynical (how could you tell?), but I am still experiencing those pre-first-day jitters.

I really think I should remind myself that I am an old pro at starting new jobs by now. After all, I've done that four times in the past year-and-a-half alone! I didn't die of misery or mortification then, and I won't now. I even made it through my 1040 without a hitch, thanks to the folks at H&R Block online--despite my 4 W-2's and unemployment benefits.

So, anyways, about that advice ...

College + Good Resume = Job? Sorry, No.
For the record, college is a mere stepping stone in the path to a good career. Actually, it's more like a pebble. The employers of today want you to have a degree--that's a no-brainer--but they don't necessarily care if you were a great student. The question they have is "are you a great worker?". In other words, will you be an asset or a liability? They don't want to train you. Nobody has the time in today's corporate world, so you'd better be sure you learn fast. Your salary is meant to get them the best cubicle-dweller for their big-money buck; benefits are the bait that trick unsuspecting little college graduates into getting hooked into workaholism, unproductive activity, and stressful lifestyles. They need you to slave away so they can enjoy the profits, and you need their money to enjoy a semblance of a life. It's called co-dependency, folks.

Welcome to the Real World (No, I don't mean MTV!)
So what do you need to succeed?

The Basics
- Determination
- Thick skin
- Organization (see below)

The Good
- Ability to follow-through on ALL commitments
- A great professional phone voice
- A phone-call log
- A well-kept Rolodex (hint: this isn't a fancy watch).

The Better
- A "tickler" file
- A planner/PalmPilot/Blackberry - whatever.
- Common sense. Lots and lots and LOTS of common sense.

The Best
- Ability to multi-task (while doing the seemingly impossible of FOCUSING on one at a time despite being required to do at least 5 unrelated tasks simultaneously).
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- LISTENING skills
- Impeccable customer service

The Personal
- Good health/exercise habits (this includes a well-balanced diet. No. French frys are not a vegetable!)
- A sense of humor
- A good memory (remembering somebody's name, favorite sports teams, and birthday are all great ways to make friends).
- A sense of style. Have you ever noticed how people tend to compartmentalize people and label them? It might feel like high school, but that's how it works. Be remembered for something good and only (maybe) slightly controversial. At least they'll know who you are and it's a great conversation starter. "Have you met Sara Beth? She's our resident Cubs fan/art collector/Scrabble champion/gourmet chef."

The Best Resource
People. It's not what you know, it's who you know and where you knew them. The best part of a college education is maintaining good relationships with professors, mentors, advisors, and fellow students. You never know who might know the CEO of that dream company.

This is not to say you should abuse your friendships by using them to get to someone else, but it is never a bad thing to have a network of friends, family, and acquaintances that has a favorable opinion of you and your abilities.

Which brings up an excellent point ...

The Second Best Thing
The second best thing is to use your free time wisely. Choose activities not only for entertainment or financial benefit, but also for their ability to provide invaluable hands-on experience or educational opportunities directly related to helping you develop good job skills.

Great extra-curricular activities include:
- internships at noteworthy institutions
- joining an industry organization
- attending industry-specific classes or events
- volunteering

Finally, Take a Test Drive
Take a PART TIME job either on or off campus that will give you the opportunity to learn from trial and error doing the small things that you will then have perfected by the time you land your first big professional job. If you get the foundations down before hand, you can spend your time and energy learning the bigger, more important aspects of your new job from day one, instead of day 91 (like I did, unfortunately). This cuts down on a significant amount of unnecessary stress. Trust me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

one little ... two little ... three little resumes

I'm shooting out the resumes left and right, folks. I even spur-of-the-momented an online form for a company that handles ticket sales and event management for a certain nearby city.

Before the day is through, I will have applied to 5 jobs--with the potential for 2-3 more. I might even call up the place I dread applying to (it's a call center) and do a phone interview for good measure. Maybe. I haven't decided yet.

In other news, I dropped off my interview suit to be dry cleaned today.

And I ate leftover Papa John's pizza for breakfast. Nothin' better!

Friday, July 21, 2006

r and r at the lake

My singles group at church is heading out to the lake tonight for a long weekend. Mmmmm. Nice! A million thank yous in advance to the super-nice family who is letting us use their "cabin" (a.k.a. really nice second home) and boat.

I'm excited to be leaving late this afternoon with 20 others--many of whom are good friends I haven't spent time with in months. I'm looking forward to the company and the down-time even more than the lake itself. We're going to have a few Bible study sessions and a steak cookout and just some good old-fashioned fun. And the best part? It's FREE!

I needed this.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

i'm hot!

More correctly, I'm sweating. Or is it glowing? Wait a sec--let me check. Hmmm ... OK ... nope. Definitely sweat.

Drove around in the car lots and lots today. I'm getting worried about how close that indicator is to the "E" on my gas tank gauge. I really don't have the money to fill up at close to $3/gallon right now.

By the way, whoever it was that said looking for a job WAS a full-time job? They're right. I woke up bright and early this morning, turned on the good ol' iMac, and set to work on my resumes. Yes, I have many. Each one I turn in is tailored to the job and company to which I apply. I never, EVER hand out a generic resume. (OK, so yes, the temp agency got one. But that's IT).
So, last night I had a mini-episode of panicked discouragement when I thought that I had missed by just a few hours the deadline for an absolutely sweet little job at a college.

Then, to my delight, I found out that I was a day ahead mentally somehow (probably all this heat), and, whaddaya know? TODAY was the deadline. Yippee! I typed-typed-typed and fiddled with the design and font to meet uploading specifications for the PDFs, and then, at 1:30 this afternoon, I submitted the completed online application right on time. This job, folks, is right up my alley. Even more so than pretty much any other job I've applied to in quite awhile. If the faculty and God decide I'm the girl for the job, I'll probably hoot an' holler and maybe turn a few celebratory cartwheels for good measure.

Sadly, my transfer to the Big Retail Store did not go as planned today, so I am once again without any form of income this week. I am still going to transfer, but it will not be until Saturday or Monday that the process will be complete. The reason? Despite my persistent calling and reminding and questioning, my employee file was not mailed to my new store, and I am still not in the system. Hence, I can't log into my register or clock in to get paid. Hence, I can't work. Hence, I am still very, very poor right now.

But all is not lost! I took the opportunity to canvass the town today, stopping in at every restaraunt I deemed worthy to pick up an application and maybe a to-go menu (to study, of course. I can't afford to-go).

Then I dragged my sweaty little self into the local Career and Umployment Center and sat in blessed air-conditioning while I waited for my turn, which was a surprisingly short wait. Job hunters take note: 3:30 pm is a good time to go to the dreaded Career Center! I scanned the list of available positions, wrote down my selections, and then was ushered into a tiny, paper-packed cubicle to update my address information and have the assistant look up my selections. No luck, I'm afraid. One was too far away, and two were at a restaurant a few weeks ago that had already opened and was running with a full staff, but had neglected to remove their listing.
Then I hopped over to the college library computer lab once more for some more free T1 internet access and free printing. I did the online job listing circuit, and that brings me to this point where I am blogging to relieve stress.

Next up: fill out all of those applications. Turn the best choices in, check out a few part-time listings I found, including a little local sign and advertising shop that has a big HIRING sign out front of their store.

And then there is nothing else I can do until more listings turn up. In the space of three blisteringly hot days, I have almost exhausted my options.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

new timezone, new life

Well, I made it. I've moved 90% of my things to the new house, none of which is really quite unpacked at the moment. I have piles of clothing spilling out of trash bags (really, that's the best way to move clothes, I've found. You can shove the bags into the strangest spots, thereby increasing your car's load capacity!). I have books on the floor, important papers in numerous RubberMaid containers, and job hunt stuff everywhere.

I did manage to take the time last night to clean up the kitchen. I love my brother, but he just doesn't seem to grasp the concept of "you take it out, you put it back." So I bought dish detergent for the dishwasher (which he forgot we had), did the dishes, wiped down the countertops, and bagged the trash. The rest of the house can stay disorganized for the time being, but I absolutely must have the kitchen and living room in order. We've already had several friends over to hang out at the "new pad", and I just think the place should look, if not presentable, then at least as neat as possible under the circumstances.

This morning I got a visitor's parking pass to my alma mater, so I can abuse the FREE printing privileges at the college library! I got to park in the faculty lot directly behind the library, and I felt so smug. So, right now, I'm typing this blog post in the computer lab. Soon, I will print out the pages of job listings and company research I've done in the past hour.

Next up, I'm debating whether to call the HR department of a job lead I got from a friend, or to just go ahead and walk into the office with my resume. Then, I'm going to trek over to the local employment office and see what's listed there. Finally, I'm going to drop off a generic administrative resume at the temp agency to which I applied a couple of weeks ago, though I doubt I will get any positive leads from them.

But first: an early lunch. Then, I'll change into my suit, just in case the resume drop off at the bank results in an interview. This afternoon, I might even pick up a few applications to restaurants or PT retail positions.

Thank goodness, I got my transfer completed yesterday to the local branch of my Big Retail Store. I start work tomorrow, so at least I'll have a little money coming in.

This evening, folks, I plan to rest. Maybe unpack and clean a little.

By the way--it is HOT out Nashville way. The heat index is in the 100's, and my poor car's air conditioning is on the fritz ... I never get more than 30 minutes of cold air, so I have to use it wisely. Needless to say, I've been sweating more than my fair share.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

as southern as pecan pie

So I guess it's official now: I'm a Southern girl. I made my first-ever chocolate pecan pies today at the tea room, and I must say, they were purty!

Sadly, as it was also my last day working at my beloved tea room, there will not be an encore performance. I guess next I'll have to try my hand at banana pudding ('Nanner Puddin' to the enlightend) or perhaps gravy and biscuits--then my transformation will be complete.

In other news, tomorrow I am moving. I can't believe all of my hoping and dreaming and fretting has come to fruition. It's exciting and terrifying all at once. Exciting, because I can't wait to see friends and places I've missed. Terrifying, because I fear the consequences to my paltry bank account if I do not find a good-paying job in the next two weeks. Exciting, because I have a new chance to make positive changes in my lifestyle. Terrifying, because I'm afraid the changes will not happen. But that is where faith comes in, and I am just going to have to trust God that it will all work out like I know it will.

Friday, July 14, 2006

breaking news


Andregirl, of Ruby Red Begins, has launched a new venture: With domain registration and hosting setup freshly behind her, and the inaugural content yet to be uploaded, this entrepreneurial blogger has big dreams for the up-and-coming site.

"The website is going to be an online resource dedicated to the thrill of the hunt for elegant, eclectic, vintage, and indie products," andregirl said in a recent interview. "It's all about the right mix."

According to this new style spy, the rise of the indie craft movement, along with an enduring affection among the design-conscious for antique, vintage, or retro items, has highlighted the need for a more personalized and whimsical take on style--whether found in the closet, around the home, or on the go. will fill that need by highlighting the work of indie artists and hunting down style bargains at flea markets or antique stores, as well as introducing new products that exemplify the values.

When asked why she chose the name, Andregirl laughed. "I've always been fascinated by the investigative process," she said. "Nancy Drew was my hero. Now's my turn to be a private investigator or secret agent!"

Get briefed at, or ask for more information.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

hear, hear!

This article might be a year old and a continent away, but it still rings true. America, are you listening? Be unique! Wear something, carry something, decorate with something that doesn't sport a trendy label.

Because who wants to look like a walking billboard anyway?

you CAN do this on television!

I love a good documentary, don't you? You get to take a look into other people's lives, be entertained, and learn something to boot. It's a win-win situation.

Which is why I'm interested in a project that is in the works (right now! this very minute!) featuring the phenomena of the indie craft movement. Faythe Levine of Flying Fish Design and the Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery, and Micaela O'Herlihy, a film artist whose work has been featured in galleries and the Sundance Film Festival, have combined forces to film the world of indie crafting. They will be filming until the end of December of 2006, and you can check out their progress at their official website,

Monday, July 10, 2006

feeling better

I had a heart to heart with my mother last night (yes, you! I know you read this, Mom!) and a few things she said to me really wiggled down deep and made me think. Specifically, she emphasized that it is easy to believe lies about ourselves. I never really thought about that.

How often do I believe the lie that I am not "good enough" at what I do or who I am? Much, much too often. That lie gets me down in the dumps, so to speak, and keeps me mired in the past when I should be standing in the present and preparing to soar into the future.

Do you ever believe that lie? That dirty, filthy, stinking lie?


Saturday, July 08, 2006

make that nine

When I first started blogging, waaaaayyy back in the dark ages of 2005 (remember them?), I had a countdown from leaving my job to move.

Hmmm. Something sounds familiar here.

This is day nine of ten. It was long, and tiring, and made my feet hurt. Funny how standing on your tootsies for ten hours straight while worrying about the next week and a half will do that to you.

Called my brother, got the good ol' little bro pep talk which consisted of the usual "so what's so stressful about that?" speech. If you have a popular, athletic, counter-culture, nerdy-but-cool genius for a brother like I do, then you know what I mean. If you don't: trust me on this one.

Oh, I found a great job to apply for in Nashville. The commute would be yucky, but the pay is liveable and it's in my field. Don't know how I'll approach the possibility. I mean, I'd be silly not to go ahead and send a resume and some design samples, but I'm not sure how my limited experience in professional design will convince them that I'm the perfect gal for the job, especially since it's been a year since I've done any serious, 40-hrs a week kind of design work. I'll think on it.

But here's the good news: I'm desperate for success, and still itchin' to start my own biz. I'm not KO'd yet!

Friday, July 07, 2006

ten days

Ten days? Can it be? In ten days I will be moved into my new home.

I almost can't believe it is really happening. I'm excited, but scared stiff at the same time. Funny how money just seems to fly out the window in times like this ... and I don't even have a real job out there yet! Oh, what on earth am I thinking? I must be insane. Didn't I say all along I couldn't move unless I had a job? So what am I doing now? (Insert silent scream here!)

I have to call the store I'm transferring to out there and let the manager know the transfer is complete and then beg for hours. Then I have to get out there and knock on doors until I get permenant employment somewhere.

Meanwhile, I've been so distracted and frazzled and tired (all these trips out to the new house to move things little by little are starting to fatigue me) that I've missed the deadline for two bills by a few days (aaaaack!) and I've done little but operate on automatic survival mode. No blogging, no forum chats, no email conversations with old friends. Not even phone calls to more than a couple of people! It's crazy.

I'm crazy?

Dunno. But I do know this: the next couple of weeks are going to be nerve-wracking!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

just what you've always wanted ...

Remember the family who was hiring themselves out to the highest (non-existent) bidder on eBay? Well, folks, this one is even better; you can hire your very own, bonified, certifiable Redneck to spend the ultimate Redneck Vacation with.

Goody! Sign me up for that thar gen-you-ine experience!

(Oh, dear).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

they don't want me,

but that's okay. I got a politely distant email from the place I interviewed saying they had chosen another applicant after a "difficult decision making process."

Oh, yeah, like I haven't heard that one before. And I'm not sure how I feel about an HR email, anyway. Is that professional now? I guess I'm glad it was a "quick" (two weeks later) reply, but I've at least gotten typed, hand-signed letters from previous no-goes.

So, now I have to find a job in two weeks or less. I should write an article about this for a woman's magazine or something. It sounds like a movie plot.

Ummmm. The problem with having left my publishing job last February, and then having been laid off from my real-estate advertising job last July, is that I have been segregated from professional company since that time, which doesn't look to great on a resume, if you know what I mean. On the other hand, I have gained invaluable experience in making split-second decisions while "improvising" at the tea room and have also learned how to smile and speak in a quiet, professionally polite tone while inwardly screaming at the idiots who come up to me at customer service at the Big Retail Store.

I'm confident that I have a good selection of skills to offer at least the food service/catering and retail industries, I'm just worried I won't make enough $$$ to make ends meet. Therein lies the challenge! Find a job that a) pays the bills, and b) gives me time to start my business. Plus there are all those pesky moving expenses . . .

So, since I don't really want to pack all that stuff up anyway . . . I'm thinking maybe "liquidating my assets" on eBay???? Has anyone ever done that?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

now that's what i'm talkin' about

Unh-huh, ohhhh yeah.

Can I just say: zoning change?

Yep. The government has relented, and the house is no longer in the "flood plain." No insurance needed, my friends!

Now . . . if I can just get a grrrrrreat job!

(and, BTW, the closing date is now officially next Monday. I'm gonna move stuff in next week!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

25 + 1 = ?

Well, folks, I'm officially over the quarter-century mark today. Who knows what my 26th year will hold. Today, though, I am going to relish birthday-girl status and let my parents take me out to P. F. Chang's for lunch after strolling together through an antique store or two and my favorite bookstores.

House drama: FEMA seems to think we're in the 100 year flood-plain for a nearby creek/river. This means flood insurance at the cool tune of $1,300/yr. Yuck. We're trying to work our way around that, but my parents have not had much luck so far, and we have to close in the next week.

Ruby Red: still not up and running. Actually, I've been kind of sort of cheating on it with another business idea. It involves retail, a shop of my own, and vintage stuff. But ... one day doing letterpress cards is still very much in the picture.

I'm incorrigible.

Monday, May 29, 2006

getting past myself

As always, I'm great on dreaming, pretty good on planning, and horrible on actually doing. Not because I don't care (quite the opposite!), but possibly because I care so much that I become scared of the enormity of whatever I'm seeting out to do and ... well ... I never get passed that.

You know? Fight or flight? What they don't tell you about is the third survival instinct: freeze. That's what I do best. Like a deer caught in the headlights, I stare in shock at the big event, dillema, or opportunity bearing down on me, and it becomes my downfall.

I am fighting my inner freeze with everything I've got right now. It's like having daily--even hourly--pep talks with myself. I can do it. I can do it. I will do it.

  • I will find a job in the next 4 weeks
  • I will choose a paint color for my new bedroom (and the rest of the house)
  • I will call friends and let them know what's going on
  • I will take the time to sit down and talk with my mom about our business ideas
  • I will then do the business ideas, even in the midst of the move
  • I will keep promises to friends and family
  • I will pack only what is necessary for the move
  • I will coordinate setting up utilities, forwarding mail, deep-cleaning the house, and finding a good doctor/vet/beautician
  • I will have fun planning a house-warming party
  • I will not panic!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


So, here I am, at 3:47 am, typing away on the keyboard and wondering why in the world I can't go to sleep. I am supposed to "wake up" in less than four hours to go to work. This isn't going to be pretty.

By 11:00 am today, I will be undergoing what I hope will not, but fear will be, a trial under fire of sorts at the tea room. Because of circumstances beyond the owner's control, only she and I will be working today. Two people doing what 4-5 normally do. If people heed the mental signals of distress I am sending out right now, they will avoid the tea room at all costs and give us a nice, boring day with only one bridal shower and a handful of walk-ins so that I can cook and she can serve and we can both leave at a decent hour before I have to go to my next job. If my fears come true, however, we are going to be slammed and have more than a few annoyed patrons on our hands when we can't seat them right away, take their orders right away, and make their food right away. Please, oh please, oh please don't be like that!

On the other hand, I have only ever called in once at the Big Retail Store, and that was due to a sudden illness back in October or November, I think. If this sleeplessness continues, and I am completely worn out from the tea room, I may have to beg out of working in the evening due to incoherence and exaustion.

After having written all this, I think I know what is wrong with me: I had a skull-throbbing headache all day that increased in intensity until I finally couldn't stand it around dinner time and took a couple of ibuprofin. By midnight, when the pain still hadn't reliquished, I took Excedrin Migraine with some Diet Pepsi--my sure-fire headache extinguishing combo. Of course, I had hoped to fall asleep before the caffeine kicked in, but I guess I missed out on that. However, the good news is that my headache is finally gone.

The bad news is that I still have to use knives in the morning. This could get messy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

all coming together ...

The checklist is almost all checked off now for buying the house. I think they're only waiting on the appraisal to come through in order to finish the loan process, and then we (OK, my parents) close on the new house sometime in the next two weeks.

Somebody pinch me. Is this real? I still can't believe that I'm beginning yet another new phase in my life. This time around, I'm going to start packing earlier, label boxes more accurately, and hold a great big yard sale to get rid of all the clothing that doesn't fit, items I don't use, and other "one man's junk is another man's treasure" type stuff.

Oh, and get a job. Or two. Or three. Whatever it takes to support myself.

So ... when is somebody going to invent money that actually DOES grow on tree?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Told one of my bosses today about my intent to move in July. She took it surprisingly well, considering the kind of week she's had. I was scared to tell her--not because of her (she's wonderful!)--but because I know how rough it's been lately at the tea room due to scheduling conflicts, and she depends on me to be there to keep things running on the weekends.

I'm relieved to have it all out in the open at last, although it still feels surreal.

No news yet on the job I interviewed for ...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

LCE ... Phase One

It happened.

The Life Change Event has really happened.

My family is investing in a house. And my brother and I are going to "rent" it.

In about 3 weeks my parents expect to sign the paperwork and close on the property. My brother will move in right away, since his current lease expires next month, and I will be moving out of my parents' basement and into the upstairs of the new house as soon as I get a job out in the Nashville area. My share of the investment will be interior decorating and "housekeeping" while I live there over the next couple of years until we sell it (hopefully at a nice profit!).

I'm actually moving back to Middle Tennessee!

I am too excited for words at the moment. But even more exciting ... and much more frightening ... I have a job interview tomorrow at 11:00 am. I'm driving out tonight after work in order to be at the interview on time and I'm nervous as can be. It seems too good to be true that I would find out about the offer on the house AND a call for an interview on the same day.

I'm on pins and needles right now, folks. Pins and needles.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


As my life has drifted away from the e-life and back into "life" life, I've found myself going into survival mode. I've taken a sabbatical, so to speak, from the computer and have unconsciously avoided writing, designing, business planning, and any other form of creative outlet. I don't know if it is a kind of mental fast or if it is just my realizing that I simply do not have the energy to create new things.

Ruby Red? It might be a long way off. I may never become a booming enterprise, but I do not regret of minute of planning or dreaming.

My two jobs? Still keeping me busy. Exaustedly.

And the life changing event ... one that I hadn't anticipated, but have dreamed about for quite some time ... is still in the works. I'll know in the next two weeks if it will happen or not. If it does, I'll call all my friends and share the good news, choose colors and styles, and then throw myself into a whirlwind of planning and preparation.

(No, no! I can tell what you're thinking! The life change event has nothing to do with the diamond rings, the color white, or invitations).

Monday, May 01, 2006


Possible Major Life Change Event in Progress Will Keep You Updated

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

have you ever

felt small and tired? Like the world has grown and you have shrunk and all you can do is shiver in the crack in the sidewalk like a lost little ant?

Maybe it's the rain. But that's how I feel today.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

so, i just did my taxes

Yep. I'm a little slow this year. I've been dragging my feet ever since they eradicated the TeleFile last year. I like the 1040EZ, but the TeleFile was QUICK and EASY. So, last year, because I was in a serious money-crunch, I needed that return ASAP. And I got it, too, after e-filing through H&R Block for free.

But I forgot my user name and password since then (I am not exactly Ms. Organized in my home office. Stuff from the move is still packed awkwardly in a mish-mash of Rubbermaid containers and ripped old moving cartons), so I was reluctant to do it online again, and I kept forgetting to fill out the paperwork.

Which is why I was a little nervous about doing things so late in the game this year. Before, because of the ease of the TeleFile, filing was the first thing I did as soon as all my W-2s came in (all those part-time jobs ... ) But this year was different FOUR W-2s and one unemployment compensation statement later, I had quite a bit of work to do.

But, I finally did it, after creating yet another H & R Block account. Their easy system walked me through it all, and I ended up filing the 1040 and getting back a whoppin' $40 more than the EZ would have gotten me, thanks to a convenient reminder that my student loan interest paid was deductible. Yippee!

2 days and counting ...

I saw from my account (love it! highly recommend it!) that, amazingly enough, y'all are still visiting this humble blog, despite the fact that I, myself, haven't. In honor of this strange, yet fabulous, phenonmenon, I am blogging at 3:04 a.m., Tuesday morning. I should be asleep by now, but I got all caught up in a wedding favor design project for a good friend, and, well, the Starbuck's DoubleShot I drank around 10:00 p.m. is still going strong ... why didn't I discover those things when I was in college?

But, as for the title of this post, I AM GOING ON VACATION! Words cannot describe my excitement. Easter Sunday is my friend's wedding (if you're reading this, girl, I still can't believe you're getting married. I'm bursting with happiness for you!), but I am off work Thursday until Monday. This is super duper. You have no idea ... I go an average of 7 days in a row working at one job or the other. Sometimes, as much as two weeks goes by without a day off from both places at the same time. This past weekend alone, due to making the food for a wedding reception we catered at the tea room, I have worked a grand total of 30 hours in 3 days. Saturday was the worst, at 14.5 hours straight of working. Let me tell you, my bed never looked so good ...

So, yes, my friend is getting married, and I'm making a road-trip/weekend retreat out of it. I'm going to hit up my favorite Nashville haunts (Hillsboro Village, Fido's, antique malls, the downtown branch of the Nashville Public Library, the Frist Center for the Arts), as well as trying to make it to a Nashville Predator's game Saturday night with my brother, and maybe even stroll through the shops of 12 South, attend a theatrical performance at TPAC, or find a free concert at MTSU's School of Music. (Good ol' alma mater).

And I'm going to get a hotel room for at least two nights. I know, I know--I'm splurging--but it is going to be worth every penny.

And I'm super-duper excited! The countdown to rest and relaxation has BEGUN!

Monday, April 03, 2006

hello! hello?

While it is probably an excellent thing that I have been focusing my energies towards the daily grind versus digital dreaming, I'm afraid I've neglected updating my few remaining readers as to my whereabouts and whatabouts. Sorry!

Status Report:

- Allergy season is among us. My nose could use some relief right about now, and I keep losing my Claritin tablet packaging ...

- Nothing new on the Ruby Red front, except more of the same see-sawing about "is this really what I want to do?"

- Found the cutest '04 VW New Bug (cream, leather seats, CD player, black-top convertible, only 17k on the odometer ...) that I'd love to drive around in this summer. No price tag. Probably one of those if you have to ask you can't afford it deals. Besides, I know of at least three people who've had those Bugs and they poured money into them just to keep them running. And Consumer Reports says that there hasn't been a single model that has passed their stringent reliabilty and "good buy" tests. Not that they know anything. They're only the experts.

Of course, I've yet to convince my inner self of these things. It still wants to go on a road trip to Florida or California or some other sunny, beachy spot in that adorable Bug--top down, wind in hair, big black sunglasses covering my face and Audrey-Hepburnesque scarf fluttering in the wind.

(I should remind that self that my boring green '96 Toyota Camry has 230k on the odometer, hasn't been to get a tune-up in over a year--poor thing; how I neglect it!--and is still running just fine ... minus the odd couple of quarts of oil I have to feed it every month).

- Think I've decided to not go back to grad school--at least not yet. I might just do some non-traditional educational experiences instead. Would love to learn to blow glass or re-upholster furniture.

- Rearranged my bedroom. After one year of living here with my parents, I think I'm finally (almost!) unpacked and moved in. After moving around the furniture, I switched chests of drawers with my Mom's spare bedroom, bought a cheap-o tall bookcase, and moved my boxy stuffed chair, formally of the family room, in with me. All in all, I added two pieces of furniture--but have more space! I am very excited.

Okay, that's about the gist of things at the moment. Must. Blog. More. Later.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

i'm full

I just did something I hardly ever do--eat a full breakfast. An actual, factual, sit-down, eat-til-you're-full breakfast. Well, all it took to make me full is a bowl of Cheerios cereal and a banana cut into it (yum!). It's all in an effort to eat 3 meals, 2 snacks, and 1 treat per day, at the rate of one meal/snack every 3 hours.

Why? Well, I've mysteriously, magically lost some weight recently. Other than my active on-my-feet lifestyle at my jobs, I don't know what I've done differently to achieve this, but it certainly makes me happy. I stepped on the scale one day and realized I had somehow lost nearly 15 pounds! My so-called "skinny" jeans fit just fine. Trying on some other clothing I had put in storage for "when I lose weight", I found I could wear it too.

So, in a moment of inspiration, I decided right then and there to lose another 20 pounds--on purpose. I've chosen to just do it the simplest way possible and avoid gimmicks and fad diets in favor of eating pretty much whatever I want in moderation, keeping my body fueled so I don't feel hungry, adding extra nutrients in the form of making a conscious effort to eat more fiber, lean protein, complex carbs, vegetables, fruit, and water. Pretty much doing what my mother has told me all along. It's the Mom Told Me So diet. Or, if you want to attach any "name" to it, I would say it most closely resembles the 3-Hour Diet by Jorge Cruise. His 8-Minutes in the Morning exercise program is also useful to a point, but I haven't found it to work that well for lazy ol' me.

Eventually, once I get the eating thing down, I'm going to add more walking the dog (Zoe will love me for it!), other free/cheap aerobic activities, some free-weight training (to build fat-burning muscle), and, hopefully, if finances allow, join a gym. I've always wanted to join a gym, but I'm not going to do it until I know I'll make it worth the $$$.

Last night I planned out what to eat today while at the tea room in the midst of the craziness, so I don't have to think (and I can prepare it in advance for my "lunch break" of, like, three minutes).

And I can't believe that I'm actually awake and typing at 7:15 in the morning. That was a fluke; I accidentally changed the time an hour ahead on my alarm clock last night! But I'm up and at 'em early today, which makes me happy. I have time to relax before heading into my busy day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

how to throw a bridal shower

So, there is a drop-in bridal shower for 31 people tomorrow at the tea room, and I'm in charge. After last Saturday's five parties and 80 people served (in 3 hours, mind you!), this day should be a breeze. Or at least I hope so.

Anyways, today we had a busy day during lunch hour, so we weren't able to get everything prepped in time, so I went in this evening for an hour and a half to bake desserts and cut veggies and fruits. Tomorrow at 9:00 I'll tray sandwhiches, vegetables, fruits, and mini tea desserts on silver platters and have one of the girls set it out on the buffet line for the shower. Of course, before the servers come, I and the other girl in the kitchen will be making the scones and a quiche, along with three kinds of chicken salad, two soups, and all the other normal every day prep work.

By 10:30, the first server will come in and start preparing for the day, and I'll make sure the buffet line and tables for the party are decorated.

Then, 11:00 comes around, the servers will have set up the walk-in tables and the reserved room for the bridal shower.

And then, our first customers will arrive, and BAM! the day begins ...

My adrenaline rush will last until 1:30, when things begin to slow down, and then I force myself to get a second wind just in time to start washing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, and mopping the floor after the rest of the girls leave. And then I go home to crash--until 5:30, when I leave for my next job and work the customer service desk at The Big Retail Store until 10:00. THEN I get to drive home and collapse in my bed.

Just another day in the life of me.

Friday, March 17, 2006

bouncing back (again)

Oh. My. Word.

Check this amazing site out. I just stumbled upon it while in the middle of some research for an idea that (inconveniently) popped into my brain at 1:30 a.m. EST. This always seems to happen to me. I nearly give up on the whole concept of designing for profit, and then WHAM! it hits me after midnight, while I'm trying to sleep, and I can't do anything (including that much-coveted sleep) until I have ridden the wave of inspiration wherever it leads me.

Haven't yet gone over all of the site, but it looks yummy for designer types like me to drool over. Hee hee!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

pleased to announce ... failure

Oh, I've been a terrible entrepreneur and blogger lately. Everything I said I would do--well, I didn't. To make matters worse, I've been doubting again. Is this the right thing? Why haven't I gotten started, already? Why do I even think that I should join the esteemed ranks of stationers of America? They've been doing it better and longer than I ever have or will.


I joined Paperpreneurs over a year ago, full of faith in my new venture that had yet to take off. Months and months later, I am better equipped to enter the field, but less inclined. I don't know if I really want to do marketing and accounting and sales. I don't know if I really want to sell paper, or just to buy it. I've run dry, and I am embarrassed to know that I am one of the only members who hasn't actually started her business yet.

It's not even a sorrowful feeling I have as I write this public confession. It is a weariness ... a reluctant, yet honest, look at what I truly find important in my life.

I don't mean to publish a rollercoaster diary of fast-paced ups and downs. It must be exhausting to read. Goodness knows it is exhausting to write and live. One day I am the very picture of a budding entrepreneur and the next I am a consummate homebody, reluctant to do anything beyond the daily grind. I talk to my friends and they are confused: is she, or isn't she, gonna do this thing?

I could whine and say I don't have enough money--but that's the easy way out. I know of others who have started with less than what I have. I could say I've decided to do other things--but I haven't, not really. I could laugh and write it all off as hormones--but it isn't.

Fact of the matter is, I'm just plumb tired (read: "plum tarrrred"), as they would say here in East Tennessee.

The good news is this: I have started to live each day of my life as it comes. I've slowed down my blogging and e-mailing and participating in forums in favor of doing things offline, in the real world. I've started trying to eat healthier (that Hardee's Thickburger tonight doesn't count--I was hungry). I've lost weight (yippee!). I've made new friends. I've found a church that is challenging me spiritually and helping me grow as a person. I've re-discovered the beauty of the Bible. Life is good again, even if it is more confusing than it was last year, and even though I am worn out from planning and dreaming.

Next stop? Who knows.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

day off

Ohhhhhh ... the blessing of a full day off! Yet it stinks that today feels like Friday, and tomorrow feels like it should be Saturday ...

But I enjoyed it, anyway. Mom and I went for a "girl's day out" to the nearby resort/shopping district of Sevierville, TN and soaked in the glorious 70 degree weather, brilliant blue sky, and spirit-lifting sunshine. The trees are budding, the crocuses and daffodils are out in full bloom (literally!), and I have succommed to a serious case of spring fever.

Once we made it all the way out there, and were pulling into the parking lot of our first destination and I exclaimed, "oh no! I forgot my camera!" I was so disappointed--I had wanted to capture the mini-vacation for this blog. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back again. What a shame. LOL.

We ate at Cracker Barrel (finishing off with the yummy Coca-Cola cake!), browsed the Tanger outlet mall (scored some amazing t-shirts that fit, well, to a "T"), and wandered to our hearts delight through a simply delightful antique shop. Let me tell you, this shop was incredible! It had everything from vintage jewelry to an operational gold-plated cash register to a wicker basket for a hot air balloon! I walked out of the store with a wooden shoe-form (something I've had on my wish list for months) and an early 1900s era photograph of a beautiful girl smiling. I didn't know they ever smiled in those old pictures.

While on our little jaunt, we discussed future business ideas and goals. Mom and I are the incorrigible entrepreneurs in our family; we can and do get excited about at least a dozen different ideas each week. The problem is choosing one to run with. I already know I've got Ruby Red in the works, but that doesn't stop me from sharing the vision for others!

Monday, March 06, 2006

fairy tales

Fairy tales. Worlds of magic and mystery and miracles exist in those tales. They beckon you to enter in and experience the wonder for yourself, all over again. When I was younger, I used to read the "Fairy Books"--those collections of tales that always featured a color. For instance, the "Blue Fairy Book," or the "Green Fairy Book." If you've read them or seen them, you know that they aren't about fairies who were blue or green, but named for the color of their covers. Inside the books would be tales of dwarves and singing barnyard animals and ogres and, yes, even fairies.

At times more gruesome at times than what Disney would portray (I don't remember Cinderella's step-sisters cutting off their heels or toes in order to fit the glass slipper in the movie, like they did in the book!), the stories presented an alternate world in which good was rewarded and evil was punished and words of wisdom were hidden among childhood tales. Reading them felt like how the world really should be.

I'm currently reading Keeping a Princess Heart: In a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World by Nicole Johnson. It's a new direction for me to head ... when I was very young, I did, indeed participate in skirt-twirling contests with my kindergarten friends, but when I reached the double digits (all 10 years of it!) I started to lose interest in bangles and ruffles and avoided the color pink at all costs. Slowly, but surely, I've begun regaining my inner lost girly-girl who somehow became jaded and guarded over the years.

But the book is not really about being a girly-girl and wearing a tiara on your head each day. Actually, it's more an allegorical reminder about how to keep the balance between dreams and reality--how not to lose hold of the beautiful hopes for the future while living in the frantic pace of the present, which, all things considered, is excellent advice for me and any other person who has big goals on hold.

So, in the spirit of my inner princess, I'm going to commit to doing something: I'm going to take at least 30 minutes this week to make some calls and talk to local printers for some general information on costs and procedures, and then I'm going to work on at least two actual designs for Ruby Red. And then I'm going to write a to-do list on this blog for additional practical steps towards realizing my own personal fairy tale--the one in which this princess not only spins straw into gold, but also beats Rumpelstiltskin at his own game and ends up making a profit in which to buy her own castle in which to live happily ever after "even when there ain't no prince" (to quote Joy Williams).

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I'm sick again. I woke up with a pounding headache and sinus problems. Nothing new, really. As I've said before: I find nothing cute at all about my frequent battles with acute sinusitus.

So, because I know how this will go ... recurring episodes of the lovely little infection until I get rid of it once and for all ... I broke down and went to the Urgent Care clinic in town. He diagnosed me as predicted (I could have saved him the trouble and just told him what to prescribe me!).

He did something new, though. He had me get a shot for some instant anti-inflamatory relief, and then prescribed the normal 30-day dose of antibiotic horse pills, as well as a decongestant.

Healthcare in the US definitely is not cheap. I don't know how much I owe for the shot, since they won't send the bill for another couple of months, but hopefully my sickness and accident plan for my "health insurance policy" will cover 80% of it after the co-pay. As for the prescriptions; I'm hurting. The antibiotic alone cost me $110! That's ridiculous! My insurance plan is the bare minimum, so I didn't get a prescription card, hence, I only get a "discount", hence, I didn't get much of a "discount" at all. Grrrr.

Fortunately, I have just enough health insurance to provide a $15 co-pay for sick visits. Otherwise, that would have been another $140 on top of everything else.

If I didn't know that taking that much antibiotics will probably clear up my underlying skin issues (occasional outbreaks of zits), I would have to faint right about now. I guess I'm just going to look at it as preventative medicine so that I don't have to go the doctor again during hay-fever season, plus a "free" prescription from my "dermatologist."

national craft month

March is National Craft Month in the US and Make It! month in the UK.

I intend to celebrate by having my mom teach me to use her sewing machine (after at least 10 years of avoiding the thing), and by continuing to flit about with my crafty supplies to determine my favorite things to do on a free evening (not that I have that many!).

In other news ... yes, Ruby Red Design is actually coming along *gasp!*. I've got some things I'm looking into, and I would like to see that it is an actually business within the next six months--less, if I have my way! Up next is working on a busines plan, getting a business checking account (and putting some of my own money in it), work on designs (which means some major catch-up learning time in Illustrator and InDesign CS2!), and then licenses, wholesale supplier accounts, tax ID#, making contact with printers in the area, etc. I have a lead for a place to showcase my finished products in a boutique-style consignment shop. I'll look into the pros and cons of that in a little bit.

Otherwise, my over-active entrepreneurial imagination went in over-drive last night after sitting in my bed propped up with fluffy pillows and browsing the latest issue of Country Living magazine (love, love, love it! This month has an entire feature on female entrepreneurs!). There is also an article on creating a craft room and/or space for creativity. Ohh! I was so excited and inspired by what I saw. And then I thought ... wouldn't it be wonderful to own a tiny little boutique shop that sold craft supplies ... not those tired, mass-market, and sometimes-cheesy things at A.C.Moore or Hobby Lobby, but a sweet little place to browse to your heart's delight for antique buttons, vintage fabrics, adorable skeins of yarn, scraps of lace or ribbon, and ephemera galore? A place where you never find the same things twice, because the majority of it would be bits and pieces scouted out from flea markets, anitique shops, and grandma's attic? Wouldn't that be just so charming?! I might just have to meld that to Ruby Red somehow. I mean, I might not be able to make a quilt or knit a sweater, but I could sell these amazing little "finds" to other ladies who do!

*sigh* Oh, the businesses I could start if I just had the $$$. LOL!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

what comes next

I've been thinking a lot about reality lately. For instance, it is a reality that I need to stop blogging and head out the door within the next three minutes in order for me to get to work on time.

I think I've come to the conclusion that it is easy ... much too easy ... to get wrapped up in fantasy. Like thinking, "oh, I'll do it tomorrow," or "that will never happen to me," or "wouldn't it be wonderful if ..."

I guess anyone who's ever been successful has lived in reality: the whole past, present, and future of it.

Learn from the past, act in the present, and plan for the future. Pretty simple, huh? Except that I tend to get lost somewhere along the way. Doesn't really matter what's at stake. It could be eating healthily or losing weight or writing a book or serving the Lord or starting a business. What matters is what I do on a minute-to-minute basis to act on these goals.

So, what comes next?

I'll have to tell you later ... for now, I have to act in the reality that I have 8 minutes to get to work.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

end of a short month

I realized that today is the last day of the month of February. Where did it go? Why is it that the lack of two additional days makes it feel so short? And why don't they think of a clever way to say it instead of tacking it hurriedly on the end of an otherwise simple rhyme?

Thirty days hath September,
April, May, and November.

All the rest have thirty-one ...

except for February.

continuing down the road less traveled

I called the guy today and told him I was declining his offer of employment. He didn't take it like I thought he would ... he tried to lure me back in by saying he was prepared to make a counter offer, and when I faltered he asked why and said he could tell there was more to my decision than just the money. He was correct, but you don't actually tell people that you've heard unattractive things about them and their company.

So, I thought he'd let it go, but he pushed for details, and I got a bit flustered and tongue-tied trying to think of something professional to say, when all I really wanted was for him to stop trying to reel me in! At last, I gave in and admitted that I had been facing a decision between accepting a job in the field and starting my own business, and had decided to go with my own thing. He backed down a little after that, but kept hinting that he was willing to pay me more. Being the open and honest person I am, I blurted out that, prior to the weekend, if he had offered me a guaranteed hourly wage that was $1 hr. more than I currently make, I would have been tempted to reconsider. He, of course, tried to use that comment to maneuver the conversation into a bargaining table.

Finally, I collected myself back together again and politely, pleasantly, but firmly repeated my intial refusal of the offer. He accepted that, but ended the conversation with an open invitation to call him back to discuss his counter offer, should I change my mind.

If nothing else, the whole process was a bit of a confidence booster for me in regards to my talent and abilities. Obviously, he knew, as I knew, that, after a little training, I would be a tremendous asset to his team--so much so that he was pushing for me to accept his offer. I kind of liked being sought-after!

You know what this all means? I absolutely, positively MUST start my little ol' business within the next 6 months, or else I will be a liar, a sluggard, and a wimp. I have just officially made a professional decision away from seeking further employment in my field (at least here in my small town), and must find another--more entrepreneurial--way to meet my needs.

You hear that? That's the sound of the whip cracking to get me back to work.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

dilemma update

Still thinking, still asking friends and loved ones for advice, and still praying ... but unless something literally drops from the sky to tell me otherwise, I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to decline the position.

This is because I found out that someone I know, whom I asked for advice tonight, has a family member who has worked at the particular company in question for over 20 years. The things she told me (from personal experience), about how the company is run and things the owner and management have been known to do, have me very concerned about the quality of the work environment. If even a small part of what she said is true, I am convinced that it would be a very bad move to accept the position they have offered.

opportunity? detour? bad idea?

Here I go again ...

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Three things I'm terrible at! I'm the girl who stood in front of the Baskin-Robbins 31 counter and found deciding among all those choices completely impossible. (In case you're wondering, I almost always ended up asking for Mint-Chocolate Chip, purely because it was a safe bet--I knew I liked it).

So now I have yet another BIG DECISION to make. One that will change the course of my life, or at least the next year of it anyway.

Here it is: the company I interviewed at (oh, did I forget to mention I had an interview?--two, actually) has offered me a position. It is, I should add, a graphic design position. Very low level, but still a job within my field. With benefits (health and dental). Sounds good so far. But wait--there's more.

It pays less than what I am currently making at my part-time jobs. That's right. LESS.

In other words, I'll be able to go once a year to the doctor for a check-up, and have my teeth cleaned twice a year, and have some protection against illnesses or accidents ... but I will still be unable to fix my car should it break down, have an emergency savings, or move out into my own apartment.

Part of me thinks I should most definitely get back in my field, if only to gain the experience needed to apply for better positions--six months is a loooonnnggg time to be out of the graphic design world. And that same part of me loves the idea of having health insurance!

But the other, more vocal, side of me is shouting NO! DON'T DO IT! I still want to have the freedom to pursue starting Ruby Red (which I wouldn't working full-time my first year without vacation time), or the ability to choose to go back to school, or any number of other options I've been mulling over lately. And would hate it if I came across a much better opportunity to apply for a job in my field at a pay rate that will actually support me.

I have to tell my interviewer (and potential boss-to-be) my decision no later than Tuesday. And I am far from being settled in my mind which way to go.

By the way ... fast-food workers can make more than what I was offered. I wasn't exaggerating when I said I couldn't support myself on the income I would be making.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

i *heart* old friends

Unexpectedly, out of the blue, I got three emails in one day from dear, old friends of mine whom I hadn't heard from in years. I smiled my way through reading their notes to me, and then wrote back to each of them with great excitement.

Have you ever had friends who not only loved you for who you were, but encouraged you to be what you could be, and weren't afraid to confront you or challenge you when you didn't meet your potential?

That's the kind of friends these girls are. And I miss them even more now that we've touched base after six years apart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

how foolish

of me to disregard caution and consume so much sugar and chocolate in the past couple of days. My allergies flared up last night as a direct result of my junk-food fest. You'd think I'd learn!

Monday, February 20, 2006

something's brewing

I'm not sure why, but I have received two job leads in the past 5 hours. I may have to make some crucial decisions in the coming week about where I want to be headed in the near future. If both leads are positive, I might have a three-pronged Y in the road to contemplate and make a decision about.

When it rains, it pours.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

i'm not into religion

Shocking? Maybe. But true.

This is why the folks at have my attention. They've stripped away the mumbo-jumbo and published a thought-provoking and possibly life-changing message. Love it or hate it--but check it out and decide for yourself.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I am appalled

by how materialistic I can be at times.

Just like Paul of the Bible, sometimes I can be exactly what I don't want to be. It's terrible. I have the designer's curse of being sensitive to good taste and desiring to be surrounded by visually pleasing things. And I also have the crafter's desire to make things and the entrepreneur's desire of making money from things.

The result? Sometimes I wonder if 75% of my life revolves around things: the collecting, displaying, making, and financially benefitting from things.

It's sad, really.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

4 ...

Oh, I've been tagged by Sarah at For the Love of Paper for 4 (yes, 4!) days now, and I had no idea because I have been a slacker in my blog reading lately. Sorry, Sarah, and thanks (I'm flattered!) at the same time. Funny, huh, that I found out 4 days later?? Hmmm.

Anyways, here I go:

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Kitchen Staff/Gal Friday
2. Graphic Designer
3. "Paint-Your-Own-Pottery" Shop Sales Clerk
4. Library Clerk & Program Coordinator

Four Movies I Would Watch Over and Over:
1. The Incredibles
2. The Princess Bride
3. Pride & Prejudice
4. Pirates of the Caribbean

Four Places I Have Lived:
1. A gray split-level in East TN
2. A tan ground-floor apartment just south of Nashville, TN
3. A cabin on the lake in upstate NY
4. A yellow Cape Cod in Western MA

Four TV Shows I Like to Watch:
1. I Love Lucy
2. Wheel of Fortune
3. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
4. A&E Agatha Christie and Jane Austen stuff!
(it should be pointed out that I don't actually watch TV at all, unless I'm at somebody else's house, as I can't get reception and I don't have cable and I think it is almost always a waste of time ... but, having said that, I have watched a few other TV shows via DVD collections on occasion).

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation:
1. Germany in 1989
2. Chincoteague & Assateague Islands of the coast of Virgina/Maryland (home of the wild ponies) circa 1995.
3. Camping all over the South much of the early '90s
4. Universal Studios, Hollywood in 1994 (loved the Back to the Future ride!)
I haven't had a vacation lately. I need one!

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. My webmail account

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Dark Chocolate/Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (it's a tie)
2. Macaroni & Cheese
3. Lasagna
4. Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes
(am I sensing a cheese and starch trend here?!)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. The Virgin Islands
2. In my dream house
3. On a cruise anywhere warm and sun-shiny
4. Nashville, TN (I miss you!)

Bloggers I Am Tagging:
Punkin' Pie Productions
Being a Bean

the prognosis:

not good.

Methinks the lady doth attempt too much!

Looks like this little girl is going to the indie craft market ... but only to shop. I did begin to make my very first mockup blank booklet (3" x 3" w/a beaded marker and vintage fabric accent) on Saturday, and completed it last evening, but I am nowhere close enough to having enough to show in a photograph of my "display"--which basically consists of that one, solitary booklet! So, I am resigned to, yet again, attempting to do something which was a wee bit more than I could handle at the moment. Of course, I guess it didn't help that I have had a very full past few days at my two jobs!

Speaking of jobs, I'm working the "Candlelit Valentine's Dinner" at the tea room. It's going to be a busy, busy day in the kitchen between our normal holiday rush during lunch and the added task of prepping for the dinner at night.

Friday, February 10, 2006

one year ago today ...

... I first ventured into the world of blogging.

Ruby Red isn't yet begun, but I'm closer today than I was last year. Life has moved on. I've met new friends, learned new things, and begun healing from the hardship and stress that I was in the middle of last year.

God is good.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

reasons to shop thrift & antique stores

1. Where else, as a "chic, youthful woman" could I learn how to avoid that dreaded "skin-fatigue"?

2. Where else can you spot amazingly dated, yet somehow charming fabrics like these for $1 or less? (fabric samples from a recent Goodwill Stores find).

2. Where else can you gain such wisdom such as this snippet from an early 1900s advertisement booklet for Lady Pinkhams Vegetable Formula?

3. Where else can you find such splended "superflous" (go look THAT one up!) verbage in all its vintage glory??!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

crafty girl strikes again!

Before I turned 10 years-old, I was fearless. I could sell anything to anyone (except my postman--but believe me, I tried). I picked wildflowers and my mother's roses and bundled them together in bouquets which I wrapped homemade wrapping paper around and peddled to the little old ladies across the street. I decorated construction paper with markers and glitter and yarn and sold bookmarks at 5 cents each to the neighbor boy.

After the success of my bookmark and bouquet ventures, I turned to other crafty activities involving washed-out tin cans, popsicle sticks, and felt (among other things). I recruited a girl from up the street to help me assemble and advertise our wares with posters we tacked to the telephone poles. We sold them to whoever would buy one ... except the postman, who flatly refused.

When I moved to another state, my crafty side was undaunted. I left behind popsicle sticks and construction paper bookmarks and moved on to hand-stiched dolls and set to work crocheting scarves and a cover with handles for my Bible. Then I decided to bake cookies and make lemonade and set up shop on my front lawn.

I almost sold out of crafts and baked goods on my first day in business. So many neighbor kids came to buy things that I actually hired a couple, giving them a percentage of my earnings for the time they spent helping me hand out crafts and cookies to my customers. After two days of profits, I was ready for the big time--I had plans to make a quilt and other big-ticket items. Until, that is, I heard through the grapevine that the kids next door had gotten in trouble with their mother for spending their entire week's allowance at my little "shop." Afraid that I'd get in trouble with her too, I never set up my card table on the front lawn again.

As the years passed, I still dabbled in cross-stich or crochet or even the odd sewn item or two, but in junior high and high school a strange thing happened: I lost interest. By the time I was in college, crafts were the furthest thing from my mind.

And now, the crafty girl in me has awakened. She is getting restless, too. Suddenly, buttons and ribbon and pretty fabrics and cool new types of yarn have me excited again. Instead of boring pastel-garbed rabbits or flocks of geese with bonnets or footstools with hearts cut into the sides, I am envisioning edgy yet ultra-feminine decorative pillows, be-ribboned bookcovers, beaded lampshades, and funky yet functional art pieces.

My love for letterpress has opened the floodgates to other traditional craft professions. I would love to learn glassblowing, for instance. And sewing no longer seems like something restricted to "home ec" class. I want to sew usable aprons. Like they had in the forties--only better. And I'm remembering how much I loved my pottery throwing and handbuilding classes in college for my Art minor.

It's weird, actually, how quickly this crafty mindset has crept back into control! So much so that I am seriously considering going to a local indie craft market in May in order to try to launch my business. Hmmmm. Can I do it? The application is due in just over a week, but it requires images of the crafts I intend to sell--which means I have to get hopping on prototypes if I want to attend! I'll keep y'all updated on my progess, whether or not I succeed in my insane little mission.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

be remarkable

I'm a book-skimmer. I pick up interesting looking books (yes, I do judge a book by its cover) and flip through them, gleaning what I find helpful and ignoring what I don't.

This practise is, in fact, a valuable way to save money when on a tight budget. Give yourself at least an hour to browse the mega-bookstore, grab a few books and magazines that catch your eye, and then snatch up one of the few remaining cushy chairs to sit and skim to your hearts content. Some days you might buy one of the books, some days you might not.

On Thursday, I did. I went to Books-A-Million for some serious business book skim time and ended up leaving with a funny little purple-spotted hardcover book about how to stand out in the crowd, or, rather, how to make your product or company stand out. It's recommendation? Be remarkable.

I've yet to actually read the entire book that I bought, but I am eager to glean any tidbits about marketing and product positioning that I can learn from Seth Godin, the author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable.

And for more from Seth, check out his blogs: Seth Godin's Blog and All Marketers are Liars.

Friday, February 03, 2006

dear mom,

Happy, happy, happy 50th!

You are an amazing woman whom I am so grateful to know and have for my mother and friend. I missed telling you happy birthday before you left to go to class, so I hope you end up here sometime today before I get back from work.

Love you!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Closely associated with the indie crafting community is the idea of Do It Yourself.

Make your own coasters? Great! How about the coffee table to go with it? Oh, yeah. An entire home to surround the coffee table? Got it covered ... and it's solar-powered, to boot.

Now, I don't know that I'm handy enough to go that far, but I just found a new site that is fun to browse and quite an inspiration for D.I.Y. Designers. It has handy diagrams, nifty links, and, if you like it enough, you can buy the book.

Monday, January 30, 2006

recent research has proven

that 10 out of 9 women love chocolate.

(And I am no exception!)

Friday, January 27, 2006

true beauty

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

--Elizabeth Barret Browning

happy birthday, mozart

Celebrating 250 years (more or less) of Eine Kleine Nacht Musick.

Take a minute out of your busy schedule to sit back and enjoy the genius of this man of music.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

i love your toboggan!

It's sleek, it's cool, it's stylin' ...

It's on your head.

Is this only a Southern thing? I have to stop myself from picturing a long wooden sled when customers at the Big Retail Store ask if we carry any toboggans. I don't know, maybe I've just been using the wrong name for those things my whole life, but I just call them hats.

today's word is


Find one today!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

odd jobs

BellSouth is featuring unique or off-the-beaten-path careers this week.

I think I'll choose Cake Decorator or Sleep Lab Technician (although I don't qualify for the latter).

Any Horse Wranglers or Aircraft Painters out there?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

if i could live anywhere ...

... I'd live here.

I love this little Cape Cod cottage in the 'Boro. It's my dream home. I've passed it many times when I was in college and would admire it each and every time I drove by on the way to church (it's close enough to walk from there to services!). When it went up for sale a couple of years ago, I even called the realtor and asked about it, but they wanted more than I could even consider paying, since it has a full basement, a rarity for its location, four bedrooms, and a fenced-in yard.

Although the pink siding is charming, I would probably paint it a warm gray, keep the white shutters, columns, and trim, then paint the door a bright, shiny red and add a brass kick-plate. In the foyer (if there is one) I'd hang a gorgeous, but small, chandelier.

Then I'd let Zoe run around in the back yard, and everything would be just perfect.

Monday, January 23, 2006

i love antiquing!

Oh, the weekend was so much fun. Not only did I have the chance to visit the wonderful shops at The Factory at Franklin and downtown Franklin, but my brother's girlfriend and I ganged up against him and dragged him with us to go antiquing--an activity we both happen to love. We oohed and ahhed over everything from $2 postcards to a $21k Italian bedroom suite from the early 1900s. I searched in vain for a 1st edition copy of one of my favorite childhood books: The Lost Prince, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Over the course of the weekend, I got two shots of chandeliers to add to my collection of favorites (it's a new hobby of mine--chandelier spotting!); one is from a bridal boutique in the Factory at Franklin, and the other is in an antique store in Middle Tennessee. I also found this wonderful "snowman" coated in white chocolate at a chocolatier shop's window display, and my good-natured brother found a goat head (his one "find" at the antique store).

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with and spend inordinate amounts of time in the midst of "girl talk" with old and new friends (you know who you are!) over the weekend--an unexpected and delightful pleasure.

All in all ... it was a thoroughly enjoyable sabbatical from my frenzied existence. In fact, my whole weekend, even the driving parts, can be summed up in a single, drawn-out word.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

road trip! (sort of)

*singing* "I'm... off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz!"

Just kidding.

I'm heading out to the Nashville area for the weekend, to visit my brother and some friends. I'm so excited, because I haven't been out that way since September and I'm going to have the opportunity to drive around some old haunts.

I'm bringing my camera, of course, so I'll have pictures when I get back. And maybe some new stationery/design inspirations to share.

But, come Monday, I'll tap my ruby slippers and come back home to "Kansas." I'll probably be exhausted when I arrive at work that evening, but it will be well worth the trip.

Monday, January 16, 2006

present perfect

What do modern English grammar, the King James Bible, and the key to success in entrepreneurship (and maybe even life!) have in common?


I'm smiling as I type this, because, really, you never know what you're going to read about when you visit here, do you? I'm sure you didn't expect this! But it actually is quite relevant to both my life, and perhaps yours, as well. So, maybe I'm a crazy, confused gal, but I like to dispense little educational tidbits now and then.

First, a grammar lesson.

Remember in school when you had to identify the different parts of speech or pick out the dependent clause in a sentence? And then you had to figure out whether a sentence was past tense, or present tense ... and later on you discovered that there isn't just past, present, or future tense--there are also different types of past, present, and future tense! And one of those types, it just so happens, is called "perfect."

Growing up, I didn't understand that one. In fact, it really bothered me. How on earth could somebody determine if a past tense verb was perfect or not! Really. What made it any better than a past progressive or a simple past?

The word perfect puzzled me in a different context, as well. In church, my pastor always read from a King James Bible. The word perfect seemed to come up quite a bit, like in reference to King Solomon's building the Temple, it says in 2 Chronicles 8:16 "... So the house of the LORD was perfected." A New Testament example is found in Romans 12:2 "... that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (emphasis in both passage is mine). I understood the common meaning of the word "perfect"--flawless--but the full meaning escaped me for many years.

And then, in college I took Modern English Grammar & Usage, a joint senior/master's level class for my writing minor. Inevitably, the topic of verb tenses was covered in detail. Our professor, bless her, went over and over and over the grammatical rules, trying to (nicely) get it through our mental blocks how to tell the difference between one and the other in order to pass our upcoming exam.

We didn't get it. Past, present, and future perfects just didn't make any sense.

Until I got up the nerve to ask for a better definition.

As it turns out, perfect, in the english grammatical sense, means complete. Any verb in its perfect form signifies an action that has been completed (past), is complete (present), or will be complete (future).

Ohhhh. It was like in one of those cartoons where a lightbulb flashes above a character's head. We finally got it! So, on the test, any time we found a completed verb, it was perfect. And from that day forward, whenever I come across that context in the Bible, I know that it means that Solomon's Temple was complete, or that the will of God is complete.

And now, in my research of entrepreneurship, I'm reading Why Aren't You Your Own Boss? by Paul and Sarah Edwards, two entrepreneurial heros of mine, and it turns out that the key to success in any venture, whether one as simple as cleaning a bathroom or as complex as creating a master business plan, is completion.

It doesn't matter how many ideas we have, or how many creative impulses; if we do not follow them through to completion, then we will never succeed. Pretty simple, huh? Yet pretty profound, considering that one of my own chief weaknesses is the tendency to have a million ideas, or a hundred ways to do things, or even just a dozen or so manuscripts in the works.

I have to complete. It's that simple!

It's that perfect.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


So, if I went back to college and got my B.F.A. to add to my B.S., is that digressing, even though I would be getting the B.F.A. so that I could one day get my M.F.A. and be eligible to teach college classes, like I've always planned on doing?

And would I be wimping out of the so-called "real world" if I did?

And what if I decided to go back to my alma mater, is that a stupid career move, since it isn't a fancy-pants art school, and why on earth would I want to spend more $$$ on a degree that didn't come with a prestigous diploma?

Why do I want an M.F.A.? Do I really want to teach one day? Is it worth it?

I know. I know. I know. You don't need a degree to suceed. I'm living proof, in a round-about way, of that. After all, my degree, as it was, did not help me very far along in my own "dream job." And it certainly hasn't gotten me much prestige since then. I don't need a degree to start my business. I don't need a college to help me learn anything. And I certainly don't need more student loans to be paid back over ten years.

But yet ... I just found out today that I could take two letterpress classes, in addition to book arts classes, illustration classes, and extra graphic design classes. I could even intern at a real letterpress business for an entire semester of setting type and making limited edition books. I had NO IDEA that my college had that as part of the art program! I don't think it was there before I graduated about two years ago.

If I went for it, this could be the very thing that will jump-start Ruby Red into existence. I'd once again be near several excellent independant stationery stores, and networking with people who could become customers or investors, not to mention being near my brother, good friends I left behind when I moved home, and the church family that I have been aching to be part of again.

The funny thing is, I've now achieved that elusive "independant" status that students over 23 achieve. My eligibility for scholarships, grants, and loans is now determined by my income alone--which, I assure you, is small indeed. So, even though I don't get the wonderful 50% tuition reduction as a dependent of a state employee (my dad works for a Tennessee college), I do get the benefit of not being considered middle class--at least financially. Nope. I'm pretty much impoverished right now!

I don't know. It's all pretty nebulous at the moment. I might even post this to Blogger in the next minute or two and immediately change my mind.

But I'm still curious as to the answers of the above questions, and the one following this paragraph, as well.

What if?

to do

  1. Laundry. It has piled up on me for way too long now. I need clean socks!
  2. Try to whip my home office (a.k.a "bedroom") into a semblence of order.
  3. Feed Zoe, who is now outside not frolicking in the snow. (Yes! We have snow!)
  4. Listen to some great classical or instrumental jazz while starting to read Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, by Julie Powell. It's a memoir about one woman's challenge to herself to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook within one year. I love to read memoirs, and I love good food, so this book should be right up my alley. I can't wait!

Text in gray was done. #2 was attempted. #4 is good so far, but I'm dissapointed by some of the content.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Family Up For Auction

I'm not kidding!

These people are actually, factually, putting themselves up for auction on eBay. Think an old-fashioned-style family of "staff" to take care of somebody's house, cars, yard, whatever for five years ... anywhere in the world. According to the AP interview video, they'd love to go to Hawaii.

Their price? $1.5 million, and the auction ends Sunday. No takers yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

emily & me

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you
nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.

-Emily Dickinson

(many thanks to criswatk @ stock.xchng for the beautiful photo!)