Anthropologie Obsession

Did you all know that there are blogs totally dedicated to Anthropologie?  One of the most popular ones that I love is called Effortless Anthropologie, but there are several more.  If you have a love for Anthro - or Anthro-esque things, check out Effortless Anthropologie.  You won't be disappointed!

Due to the average price of clothing at Anthro, my obsession is often limited to browsing.  Luckily, they have great sales and, inexpensive small items for the home.  My typical Anthro buys are dishes, handles and knobs, and candles (I love their candles).

My mom is in town this week and we are heading to Anthro after I am done with work....hopefully I can find these (and maybe convince her to buy them for me!)...

{I love these colorful bowls}
{These are my favorite candles.}

{I always break the drinking glasses I buy at Ikea, so maybe these will stand up to my washing!}

{Pulls for a piece of furniture I recently acquired. I have been eyeing these pulls for a while and they are finally on sale!}

{Completely out of my price range, but I looooove this dress.}

 {Another dress I love and this one is more in my price range.}

Etsy Advertising Experiment, Part 4

The results of advertising on Craftcult were positive. I received more views than normal and many more views from Craftcult than Craftopolis.  I am definitely going to buy another Craftcult ad in the next month or so.

And....I woke up this morning to a notification that these hair pins sold.  Was this due to the Craftcult ad? I don't know, but I'll take it!

This week's ad will have to wait a few days.  I am just not prepared to buy an ad right now.  I am considering buying on a popular blog, but I need to research a few options first.  Expect another update later this to bed, Monday tomorrow (yuck).

New Business Cards

I have been considering buying letterpress business cards for a while.  There are many artists on Etsy that make gorgeous letterpressed cards and there is a shop in my neighborhood that does them as well.  I just love the uniqueness of the cards.  Personally, when someone hands me a unique, well designed business card I love it and am interested in the company.  When I get a boring, standardized card, I just stick it in my wallet and forget about it.

Until this week, my business cards had been standard, boring cards.  I bought typical business card paper at Target and printed them from Microsoft Word.  Pretty boring!  Due to the dullness of my cards, I considered investing in unique handmade cards on Etsy.  I received prices form a few stores I admire, but it was all priced a little high for me.  I am definitely willing to pay for something special if I have the budget, but unfortunately I do not have much of a budget right now.

In order to save money and create a unique business card, I decided get creative and make my own from long boring white Microsoft program business cards.

This is what I bought:

-textured card stock in off white ($6 for 10 sheets)
-two ink pads, one in olive green and one in dark grey ($7 total)
-a simple paper cutter ($12)
-a custom stamp from SandShooters on Etsy ($15)

Total spent: $40 for 120 cards....and the paper cutter and stamp are one time costs....and the stamp pads will last for a few more batches of cards.

All in all a good deal.

I created a rounded rectangular shape on Microsoft Word, typed in my info, put an olive green border around the shape, copy and pasted the sheet in order to get 12 per sheet and hit print.  That was the easy part! The hard part was hand cutting each card.  The paper cutter was a huge time saver, but I had to use a pair of old fashioned scissors in order to get the close edges.

On the back of each card, I used my Acute Designs logo custom stamp to create a bit of extra flair.

The logo I used for the custom stamp I bought.

I am happy with the results.  I did spend a lot of time cutting, stamping, etc and could have easily spent no time just paying for nice, professional cards....but I found this all to be a lot of fun. I guess I just like to make stuff!

Maybe one day I will budget some funds towards letterpress business cards, but for now, this is what I've got.....

Advertising Experiment, Part Three Craftcult and Craftgawker

If you have been following my Etsy advertising experiment, then you are aware that I took bought an ad for my Etsy Shop {Acute Designs} on Craftcult this week.  The ad started Wednesday and will run through Saturday.  I could have paid the same amount ($15) and bought an ad on Craftcult for a week, but I went with the "carousel" option instead of the "sidebar" option.  {If you have ever been to Craftcult, then you know what I mean.}

My thinking was that the carousel ads were more visible to the site's visitors and...the best advantage is that for the carousel ad, I just sent Craftcult a few links and they created the ad for me. So, I didn't have to make another ad...and I was at work and had no access to ad making, so really, this was my best option.

These are three of the links I chose.....

Overall, I have seen a jump in visitors today, the first day that my Craftcult ad has been live.  Sales? Not so much, but I will keep you all posted.

In regards to Craftgawker....have any of you tried this site?  You can submit a photo and a short description of an item and if they like it, you will be published on their site for others to, well, gawk at.  Sounds easy, right?  Not for me!

I guess they don't like my style because I have submitted a lot and never made it on the site.  Admittedly, the first photos weren't that good, but my photos have improved SO much but it's all deny, all the time.

I say this in no offense to any of you that have been accepted by Craftgawker, but some of the pictures they have on their site are complete crap.  On the other hand, some are amazing, so I just don't get it.  I am going to keep trying...maybe I will get on one day.

Yes, I am bitter.

Updates on Craftcult later this week....stay tuned.

Update on My Etsy Advertising Experience

Last Saturday, I blogged about experimenting with different low cost and free ads for my Etsy shop, Acute Designs.  I paid $15 and bought an ad on Craftopolis and I placed an ad on Craigslist.

Per my experience, Craftopolis quickly responded to my ad request and the ad I submitted has been there on the site every day.  I tracked my progress in my Google Analytics account and saw a slight bump from this site.  The first day the ad was up, I received the most views from Craftopolis and it steadily decreased each day since.  Yesterday, I only saw 3 views from the Craftopolis site....not very exciting!

I have heard other Etsians boast about their success from Craigslist.  Personally, I did not receive one hit from the Craigslist ad, but I did receive some expected spam.

All in all, the $15 to Craftopolis was worth it.  If the ad would have been over $20, I would have felt like I wasted my money.  As for Craigslist, I might try that again in a few weeks.  It is free, so there is no loss in trying.

This week I am going to take out an ad on Craftcult.  Per the internet traffic measuring site, Alexa, Craftcult is ranked 9,808 in the U.S. and Craftopolis is only ranked 26,428.  So, based on those stats, Craftcult gets far more traffic than Craftopolis.

A standard ad on Craftcult is also only $15...hopefully it brings more traffic and some purchases to my shop.

{On another note, the lack of traffic from my Craftopolis ad could have been the ad I designed...I am going to design and submit a completely different ad for the Craftcult submission.}

Wish me luck!

Are You Wearing Green Today?

I am not currently wearing any green.  I have to be at work at 5:45am every day, so I don't really think about what I am wearing each day.  An annoying interesting old man that I work with just asked if I was wearing green (apparently he is blind and annoying) and when I said no, he said, "Uh oh! I might have to pinch you!"  I really hope he does not pinch me.  I don't want anyone I work with touching me!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are some great green dresses.

Is anyone else ridiculously excited?

I forget this is going to happen, then an article, gossip site, DVD box, or something reminds me and I get so.excited!

I am definitely not in the group that thinks they should have just stopped at one...I am in the group that will be there the day it opens and I will be shushing the inevitable tipsy ladies in the crowd. (And my husband will go with me; don't tell anyone but he is a fan too.)

What is this all about?!


Obsessed. Literally. Beyond.

I made a lot of new stuff...

I was busy this weekend making some new things for my Etsy shop, Acute Designs

My newest thing is cute, handmade, workout ready headbands.  They are made of cute cotton prints and will hold up in the wash, so they are perfect for working out, or depending on your style, any day.

Here are the first two...they will be in my shop later this week.

Yellow, white and silver stripes:

Green with white flowers {love this one. a.lot.}

I have been working a lot on taking better photos...what do you think?

How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

This is a little off topic for me, but I thought some of you might find this information useful....

For the past few months, our kitchen sink has periodically clogged.  In order to remedy this, I have used a plunger and some liquid Draino.  I am not a big fan of Draino because of how really and truly and horribly bad it is for the environment, but I was desperate. 

A photo of our kitchen.  If our landlord would just install a garbage disposal, we would be fine...apparently, that's asking too much.

When I was in Colorado, my husband did god knows what and was unable to unclog the sink.  He claims that he used the plunger until he pulled a muscle in his back (typical).

Upon my return, Neil had been able to get the water in the sink to go down, but was unable to use the sink.  Since I am the handy one in our household, I did some research online.  This is what I found:

  1. Pour boiling water down the sink in order to break up any food particles (tried that and it worked for a day).
  2. Use a combination of baking powder and vinegar and allow it to sit overnight.  This remedy is environmentally friendly (score!) but if any commercial drain cleaner has been used (Draino, etc) then avoid this remedy.  (I am not sure why it said to avoid this remedy but I assumed that there would be a horrible explosion, so I decided to not try this.)
  3. Use a "snake" to unclog the drain.
I believe the boiling water method would have worked if the clog was minor, but I was obviously dealing with a hot mess of a clog, so I decided to go with the snake method.

I went to the Ace Hardware (they recently opened a new one in Liberty Station, in the Point Loma area of San Diego. If you live in that area, go there. It is nice and they were extremely helpful) and looked for a "snake."  One of the Ace Hardware employees showed me how to use a snake and he also recommended an all natural drain de-clogger.  Apparently this stuff has enzymes that eat away at the food in the pipes or whatever.  The snake mechanism looked a little laborious, so I bought the $10 all natural de-clogger.

And it worked!  (I am not being paid to say this, but buy this stuff. )

 Super Digest-It Safe Drain Opener kicked Draino's ass.

P.S. The guy at Ace Hardware told me that products like Draino only break up hair in clogged sinks.  They do not have the capability to fight through grease or starch, which clogs most kitchen sinks. Who knew?  

Advertising My Esty Shop - An Experiment

My Etsy shop {Acute Designs} has been open for almost four months, yet the only online advertising I have done is through the Etsy Showcase.  (Per my experiences, the Etsy Showcase was a waste of time and money. Don't bother.)

Due to my lack of online advertising, I have decided to conduct an experiment by placing a few ads each week.  I will track my results via Google Analytics and report back on this blog.

If you are an Etsy shop owner, I hope my findings will help you too.  If you have ever used any site to advertise, email me or comment on this post with your experiences.  I am determined to increase sales and have little to no advertising experience, so all advice is welcome!

Here are the sites I will try this week:

-Craftopolis - I just created and purchased a week long ad for this site.  The Craftopolis process was simple and they responded right away.  So far, so good...I will let you all know next weekend if it was worth the $15.

 This is my Craftopolis ad, it will start running tomorrow, March 14th.

-Craigslist - I assume I will get a lot of spam from this (which is why I link all Craigslist ads to an email I rarely use), but I have read on other blogs that people do get an increase in traffic.  An increase in traffic is the first start to an increase in sales.

Wish me luck!

The Real Housewives are Real Addicting

Last night I watched three hours of the Real Housewives (don't judge). I watched parts 1 and 2 of the The Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion Show and the new episode of The Real Housewives of New York City.

Unfortunately, Lynne's new face cannot make a "blowing a kiss" expression.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Tamra was right on when she said that Alexis was laying it on a bit thick with all the God stuff.  If you have read my Orange County recaps then you will know how much I hate Alexis.  Jim and Alexis were so smug, I wanted to smack the smirk off Jim's face through his spiky hair.  And that outfit? Straight trash.

Yes, he is that disgusting. No, it wasn't hard to find a disgusting picture of him.  It is all that exists.
2. I am happy for Tamra and her new life.  I am happy she left Simon. I kind of liked her at times during reunion. There I said it.

3. Lynne's face was not worth it and it still looks bad.

Which is the new face? Doesn't she look the same?

4. Frank's hair? Oye. Why do these men think it looks good to have a faux-hawk?

5.  Who wants to bet on how long Gretchen and Slade will last?

6. Gretchen bought Jo's (Slade's ex) music catalog.  So.Dumb.

7. Alexis was so far up Gretchen's ass I could barely see her collagen injected lips.

We are the two best friends that anyone has had!
8.  I fell a little in love with Andy Cohen when he called out Slade on his obviously made up time line.

See that fear in Slade's eyes?  He knows that Andy Cohen knows too much....

9. I wish Andy Cohen would have asked Slade about not paying child support.

10. Thanks be to god that this season of the OC is o-v-e-r!!

The Real Housewives of New York City

1. Bethenny is a bitchy skinny girl.  And a total butterface.

2. Is Bethenny's Jason gay?

3. I love Jill Zarin. I do. Judge me, but I do.  (And I love Bobby Zarin.)

4. Ramona, no you do not look like Cameron Diaz. Not.At.All.

5. Kelly is still clueless, but she didn't do much to make me hate her. (Well, maybe that too short dress she wore to LuAnn's and her huge announcement about posing for Playboy, but who's counting.)

Don't worry Kelly, I will hate you yet!

6. LuAnn is the worst kind of person. She is so into herself and her status, dahling. I cannot stand her.  How much do you think Rosie was paid to visit the de Lesseps in the Hamptons?

7. Bethenny's accusations of LuAnn sleeping around were shocking. I mean, who would sleep with her?  (Must remember to research this new discovery.)

8. There is something about Silex that I like. I am not sure what it is.  I think it's because they are ridiculous in a different way, and I like that about them.

9. Ramona is crazy. Bitch is chachacha craaaazy. (I could put this into every RHofNYC recap.) And she sure likes to dance.

10. I am loving the return of NYC. There is just so much more something?  What is it?  Maybe it's that there is less of a stink of foreclosed homes and bad credit and people like Slade.  Maybe.  Who knows.

Colorado Part Two

Colorado was fun. Lots of laughing, eating, drinking, and fun time with good friends.

For your viewing pleasure.....

The view from my friend's balcony.

Look at that icicle! It was a frozen tundra in Crested Butte.

Some mountains.

We saw a fox! Can you see him to the left?  It looks like he was maybe trying to go in that restaurant...

And some more mountains. (Maybe the same ones? I don't know.)

Yes it was cold, but it was also really beautiful!

Colorado...Here I come!

I am sitting in the Salt Lake City airport on a layover.  Next stop, Crested Butte, Colorado.  I have been to Colorado once before, but it was with a family I used to nanny for and it was, ummm, kind of bleh.

(Don't get me started on working for people that blame the nanny for all of their children's problems.  I suppose their lack of parenting was also my fault....)

Anyway! Today I am going to visit a good friend that I haven't seen in THREE years!   Here are some pics of Crested Butte that I have stolen borrowed from the world wide web.

(I will post my own next week and then you can steal them.)

(Kind of) Low Fat Chicken Carbonara Pasta

A few weeks ago, my husband ordered chicken carbonara at a restaurant.  I had a taste and loooved it, but it was one of those things I knew was unhealthy just by looking at it.  Since then, I have been craving the dish so I decided to make my own version, but with a little less fat.

I still used bacon and a little heavy cream and I threw in peas because they're good and all meals should have a little green.

It was good. I think my husband actually gave it two thumbs up. At the table. It was funny, but a little weird.

Low Fat Chicken Carbonara
-1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast
-1 small onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, diced
-4 strips of bacon, diced
-1 cup frozen peas
-3 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
-1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
-1 cup chicken broth
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-freshly grated parmesan cheese
-4 servings of any pasta
-olive oil
-salt and pepper

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour a little olive oil and salt and pepper on the chicken breasts and cook for about 35 minutes.
2. While the chicken is cooking, heat a small amount of olive oil (less than a tablespoon) in a large skillet over high heat.  Cook the bacon pieces for about 5 minutes. Then lower the heat, add the onion and cook for another two minutes.  Finally, add the garlic, and cook for about a minute. 
3. Mix the tablespoon of flour into the pan to create a roux.  Cook for a minute, hen mix in the chicken broth.  cook for a minute so that the sauce thickens, then put the heat on low.
4. At this point you should have water boiling for the pasta.  Cook the pasta according to package's instructions.
5. Remove cooked chicken from the oven, slice into bite sized pieces and mix into the sauce.  Also, mix in chopped parsley and peas.  Continue to cook for a few minutes. (Taste, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.)
6. Once the pasta is finished cooking, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream.  Put the cooked pasta into the pan and toss it in the sauce.
7. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.
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