Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

i don't love snow

There is no snow where I live. Of course not. It's Carlsbad.  I live here because of the good weather.

I don't want to live where it snows.  Walking out into the freezing cold instantly puts me in a bad mood. My body tenses. My teeth hurt. It's not a pleasant sensation.

But I miss watching snow fall. I miss getting under a heavy quilt in a cold room and snuggling up to my big bear of a husband hoping that we would be snowed in the next day.  I miss the quiet mornings after a storm.

Today I woke up to lawn mowers.

The grass is greener here in Carlsbad, but right now I'd take a day or two of white out.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

happy it is to receive

I received an early Christmas gift in the post.  My sister-in-law Julie, who knows what I will love even before I do, made and sent me the perfect pair of Noel earrings.

Aren't they absolutely divine?

Now I know Christmas is supposed to be about what you give.  Yes, yes, giving makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.  But sometimes, just sometimes, when a person receives a gift, a token if you will, of such thoughtful significance that it perfectly embodies the love that the giver has for the recipient, it is awfully nice to be the person that gets to unwrap such a treasure.

You can see more of Julie's jewelry in her shop.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

like a baby's butt

I wish the above picture was of me.  I would kill for skin like that.  I spent four years of my youth lifeguarding in the sun.  I have now spent the last ten years trying to repair the damage I did.

Oh the stupid things you do as a teenager.

But I lucked out.  One of my good friends decided to become an esthetician.  We are slowly working on my skin to get it healthy and glowing.

Here's the part where you luck out.  Shannon is offering Suaviloquy readers 25% off any service in January.  Her prices are already very reasonable so this is a really good deal.  Hopefully you live in the So. California area so you can get in on this.

I personally recommend the pumpkin peel.  It smells scrumptious and your skin literally glows the day after.  But she also offers chemical peels, waxing and body treatments.  Before she became an esthetician, she was a make-up artist so she also offers that service along with spray tan and custom blended mineral make-up.  She's literally a Jill of all trades when it comes to your face and skin.  And a walking encyclopedia.  The girl always gives me the rundown about the science behind the treatments. I'm just like, "Uh huh, uh huh, whatever, just keep massaging my face please. It feels soooo good."

So go see Shannon. She will make you glow.

To schedule an appointment you can email her at bellabaccia(at) or call 619-995-4335.

Tell her April sent ya.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

dream a little dream

I have all kinds of ideas rattling around in my brain with no where to go.  No time to do them. I'm writing them down but I have a feeling I might have lost the vision by the time I get around to them.  

I wish I could freeze the world for three days.  On the first day I would finish working on an illustration that must be done by the end of the month.

On the second day I would work on my best ideas for crafts and such.

On the third day I would go get a massage, spend some time wandering around the shops taking in the beautiful decor, stare at the sky for a while, then eat some sushi and paint my toe nails.

Then I would be ready to jump back into this crazy busy week.

I guess I always find time to day dream.

Monday, December 20, 2010

cookie day

source unknown

It's cookie day at our house today.  On the check list: sugar cookies, cherry pinwheels, orange glaze and opera candy bar.

We have Pandora set to all Christmas music.  The amaryllis are in full bloom and they make my kitchen seem extra festive.  I studded oranges with whole cloves and the smell is intoxicating. The rain is coming down and the fire is crackling away. The children are suspiciously on good behavior. I've got good friends on their way to have lunch and do some baking.

It's going to be a good day.  It's going to be a good week.

I may have had a little too much caffeine this morning.

I've been having fun at this site making my own snowflakes.  Check it out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

in the event your holiday sucks

I never blog on Sunday. I usually take the weekends off.  But today's post is of a religious nature.  Writing blog posts of a religious nature is another thing I seldom do because I hold my faith near and dear to my heart. I often find it difficult to talk about my beliefs with other people.  I am a very private person in this way.

Nevertheless I do have something that I think I need to put out into the universe.  It is something amazing that I learned this last week that might be of value to someone out there.

Last Sunday I was asked to teach a lesson in church.  I was given the topic of The Sacrament.  I was a little bummed because I thought it might be hard to make the lesson interesting and engaging.  To this day I don't know if the lesson I gave was interesting to other people, but as is often the case, I learned a lot having taught the lesson.

To prepare, I researched what exactly happened the night of the last supper.  I wanted to get a sense of what that event was truly like.  One of the things I read that I never knew before was that during the last supper, the twelve disciples were fighting amongst themselves as to who would sit where.  Where you sat at the table at a passover meal denoted your station in that particular group.  So they were fighting over who was more important.

Do you remember this post I did a while ago?  I really do build things up in my head to be way more elaborate than they could really ever be.  I had began to build up this Christmas into a magical bacchanalia the likes of which our family has never seen.  I pictured well groomed children gathered around the counter sweetly frosting sugar cookies.  I wanted handmade cards and fun nights by the fire watching Christmas movies as a family.

Now make a huge leap with me to reality.

My kids start the day well groomed. By dinner time, they look like New York panhandlers.  They whine and fight and fuss and make huge messes. I have hardly any free time so making my own cards was out the question.  And those family nights by the fire? Oh we've tried to have them. They are nice until Birdie smacks Frankie with a block and gets in trouble. Then both babies are crying and Thom is screaming that he can't hear the show.

Good times.

So here's what I finally realized:  Here's what God taught me:  During Jesus's last supper here on Earth, a holiday meal, where he gathered with those that he loved,  there was fighting. Like real contention and bickering.  If even Jesus, son of God,  isn't capable of having a Martha Stewart holiday, what makes me think I can?

How pompous I have been to think that I could somehow strong arm my family into conforming to my silly idea of an ideal holiday.

The bottom line is an ideal holiday is a myth.  It doesn't exist.  At least not when children are involved.

So this year I will go and make merry. Even when Frankie barfs all over my Christmas dinner outfit, which I know he will. Even when The Boy pesters Birdie till she screams like a pterodactyl.   Even when my house is a mess.

And I will somehow capture a photo akin to Da Vinci's Last Supper when all looks calm and peaceful and maybe twenty years from now my memory will have faded enough for me to believe it was really true.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the thing about december

December is a funny month.  When you are a kid, it lasts forever. When you are a adult it is gone in the blink of an eye. It sneaks up on you like a cat that brushes your leg. Before you can look down to see what happened it is already gone. Just a tail disappearing behind a door.

December is quiet snowfall and hustle and bustle and honking horns.  It is kind words and merry gifts and dead lines and stress. It is a time to enjoy your friends and family and yet it reminds you of those you have lost.

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.

This is how it goes.

I hope your holiday season isn't too stressful. I hope you aren't lonely.  I hope you find time to be still and reflect.

Here are some simple gift tags you can print off if need them.  If it saves you a trip to the store then I'm a happy girl.

They look best on white card stock. And you know, a little glitter makes everything fabulous.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 days

Let me make one thing clear. I'm not a scrapbooker.  I have many uber talented friends in the scrapbook world.  They are designers and artists and trendsetters and I love the things they do. But I'm not a scrapbooker.

The Boy's baby book has yet to be put together.  The Bird and Frankie have little to no hope of having their books ever even started.

Ey. It's a sad state of affairs.

But over the Thanksgiving holiday I spent a day with one of my most favorite people in the world who also happens to be a maven in the scrapbook world.

You've heard me talk about Margie before.  She has several lines of paper and embellishments on the market.  She teaches all over the world.  And she's freakin' hilarious.

We spent the afternoon together in her cottage crafting and she let me loose on all her scrapbooking supplies. And let me tell ya, that's some good times.

We made The 12 days of Christmas memory books.

Now that my book is finished, I am so happy she motivated me to do this.  It is going to be a special year for our family. We have all of our children here. We will celebrate Christmas as a complete family.

I want to remember this year.  The year I bought my daughter a baby doll and my son a Lego set.  The year we have two babies to play in the wrapping paper.  My life is hectic, but I realize that my children will be grown before I know it.  I want to remember them exactly as they are this year.

I gave each child their own page in our memory book.  I'm going to write what I love about them this Christmas around their photo.

Thanks Margie for inspiring me.  I know I'm a beginner, but you always make me feel like I'm just as good as you.

As if.

I'm dying to get the photos taken and into my book.  I know it will be a treasure when my kids are grumpy teenagers that just want money for Christmas.

I also want to wish a very happy birthday to the most wonderful person ever born. My husband.

I could go on and on about how much I love you and why you are the perfect person for me, but I know you. And I know what you really want to hear is that I think you are one sexy specimen of a man and I will ravish you when you get home.  So there you have it. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Come home early.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Bet you didn't know Cindy Lou Who is  a real person.

She is. She lives with me, and let me tell you, she's not the babe in the woods that the movie portrays her to be.  She's more like a naughty little elf that works tirelessly to systematically dismantle our house.

But she's a cute little imp all the same.

I snapped the above photo with my iPhone and posted it to Instagram.  Do you have the Instagram app for your phone? If Twitter is like Facebook on speed, then Instagram is Twitter pimped out with pictures.

See how it just keeps getting better, faster and more interesting?  Pretty soon I won't need to live in the real world at all. I can stay in my bedroom, in my pajamas and live my life through my Mac and my iPhone.  Oh I like the sound of that.  But one must think about the children. They need to be feed everyday.

Instagram is free and really quite addictive.  If you decide to join you can find me by searching for secondsister.

Monday, December 13, 2010


The above photo has nothing to do with this post. It's simply a gratuitous photo of my gorgeous little girl.  I like to throw in a photo of her every now and then to remind everyone how absolutely breathtakingly beautiful she really is.  Again, adopted. I am allowed to brag like this.

Now I would like to discuss the price of grapefruit.

Grapefruit is currently a dollar a piece. A piece. Just what is going on here?  I'm thinking the government needs to look into price fixing.  Just when I was getting used  to paying a dollar a piece for avocados, when I only live a stone's throw from the avocado growing capital of the world mind you, they lay this on me.

Just how am I supposed to have Christmas without grapefruit?  It's like the old stories where the orphans only get an orange for Christmas.  Maybe I will buy all my kids a grapefruit for their stocking.  That's how we will afford to have it for breakfast.

matthew lowery

You probably already know this, but the absolute best way to have grapefruit, especially on Christmas morning, is to cut it in half, sprinkle it with brown sugar and put it under the broiler until the sugar caramelizes. Oh yeah baby.  That's some citrus heaven.

If you can afford it.

P.S. I'm finding it very odd that I just wrote a blog post entirely on grapefruit but I'm gunna go with it.  It's a good way to start your week and you never know, I might start a movement that ends in an expose' of the criminal workings of citrus growers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

freak. it's friday already?

I love old children's book illustration and I particularly like this one.  It's been on my computer for years now.  But I realized the other day that there is something terribly wrong with this picture.

Do you know what it is? If you do, then you have a husband similar to my own.

If you don't know then you should click away now, happy in your ignorance of the fact that some husbands don't smile cheerfully when asked to place the star on the top of the tree, or help deck the halls in the slightest fashion.  Some husbands have no intention at all of putting up twinkle lights on the eaves so that the house looks festive. Some husbands will have no idea what Santa has brought the children until they unwrap it.

However, these types of men aren't all grinch and no love.  No, no. If you are lucky, you will get one that loves to cook almost the entire gourmet Christmas dinner.  He will also help you make your traditional Opera bar candy and work very hard everyday so that the children might have gifts under the tree.

You are also one of the lucky ones if your husband has no desire whatsoever to smoke tobacco in any form. Even if a pipe does have certain charm.

But you are really super duper lucky if you have a clock like the one in the picture.  I'd like to buy it from you if you are so inclined.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Pantone colors for Spring 2011

I'm not gunna lie. I think I have an eye for good design.  It's the consolation prize God gave me after he realized I had no talent whatsoever in the performing arts department or the math department or any other department for that matter.  He dug out the wand for design and dinged me on the head and said, "Go forth and beautify the World my child."  I'm pretty sure that's how it went.  

Pantone will announce the official color of 2011 later today. I guess they have all kinds of smarty pants analysts working around the clock to figure out what the hot designers are using.  Turns out it's "Honeysuckle" pink. That's #e76589 for all you fellow designers and hot pink for all you non-designer types. 

I personally endorse this decision. We could all use a little more honeysuckle in our life.

Now let us look at the Christmas cards I will be sending out this year. The very cards I ordered just days before Pantone leaked their color choice.

ruby press

Sometimes I tickle myself pink with my design prowess.

Now we'll see if I can get my smug self to actually get said cards in the mail in a timely manner.  God didn't ding me with the organization wand.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

crafting christmas

One of the things I'm doing this year is using my handcarved stamps to make custom wrapping paper.  I bought a roll of craft paper because I love the way ink looks stamped on it's smooth brown surface.

I carved a snowflake stamp made up of my initials. I thought I was being so clever and then the thought occurred to me that if it is going on a gift, it should probably be their initials. Oh well, they probably won't catch the whole initial thing anyway.

Your stamps need not be perfect. Remember my motto: There is charm in everything imperfect.

Keep in mind that, although I drew and carved my stamps, you can always use ones you buy. But if you are feeling adventurous and you'd like to try your hand at carving, you can watch the tutorial video in the side bar.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

ye ol' mantle

click photo to see full size

Well I'm off the couch.  I even did a little laundry and attempted to pick up the house.  I finished decorating the mantle and that made me feel very accomplished.  After that I was exhausted so I sat back down and drank a soda and ate a chocolate.

But I'm up! I'm fighting! I will conquer this holiday season!

My theme for the mantle this year was vintage ice skating.  I actually ordered some old ice skates from a seller on Ebay but he lost them, so he couldn't send them.  Weirdo.

Anywho, I also bought some old photos on Ebay for this project.  I can't tell you how I wish these were actually my relatives but I am not heir to any great ice skating pictures of my ancestors.  So they are strangers, but I love them all the same.

I took my favorite photo and photocopied it really large to make my focal piece.  Then I glittered it all up, because, please, glitter makes everything just a little more festive.

The other photos I used to make a simple bunting.  I was tempted to get fancy with it, but I already have some much going on that I decided to keep it simple.

Aren't the photos the most charming thing you've ever seen? I mean look at that baby learning to skate. I die.

It was simply a Christmas miracle that I found this old school banner that says "Merry Christmas" in twenty different languages.  It's handmade and exactly the length of my dining room table.

Obviously it was put in my path for a reason. I mean, I can barely ever find runners long enough for my table. And then this little gem comes along.

It's really starting to come together around here.  Now to the shopping and the baking and the cards and the parties and...

You get the idea.

Monday, December 06, 2010

dance of the sugar plum fairy

When I listen to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker I feel like a smart person. But as I type this I know I am not. After all, I had to look up how to spell Tchaikovsky.

Christmas has a way of making you feel better than your usual self.  Have you noticed this?  It makes me feel like a nicer person than I really am.  If I wasn't sick you know I'd be out spreading the holiday cheer.  I still need to pass along leisure suit lady's good deed.  But I'm stuck inside, on the couch, spreading my germs.

All the Christmas activities make my children look at me with adoring eyes. As if I, personally, have created this whole elaborate celebration just for them.  If a person is told something often enough, they tend to live up to it. Good or bad.  I hope I can live up to the person they think I am. I'm determined to become the Sugar Plum Fairy and bring some magic into our home this season.

 Right after I get off the couch.

P.S. Not only does the Nutcracker make me feel smart it makes me feel like prancing around the room as if I weighed but a few pounds. Now that's some real Christmas magic.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

just some complaining

I've been sick for like a billion days. I don't think I'll ever breath through my right nostril again.  My head might just split open and spill out all my good ideas that I will never be able to do because I will never be well ever again. Ever.

In other news, I've been quite productive with my computer as I lay here on my death bed.  I did a blog design.  I organized all my folders.  I made myself a new wallpaper for my iPhone.  I did not: do the laundry, pick up the house, comb my hair or put on deodorant.

And there is this glimmer of holiday cheer: the doctor prescribed me cough syrup with codeine.  Codeine.  I know I shouldn't be as happy about this as I am. But it brings me visions of sugar plumbs when I sleep.

Sleep is a rare commodity around here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

on the first day of christmas...

Yesterday morning was fairly miserable.  Frankie Valentine had to visit the pediatrician for a nasty cough.  I thought I had said good bye to my cold but it was back in full force.  I schlepped both babies to the doctor's office in a daze, head pounding.

Some lady in a Jaguar honked at me when I didn't realize the light had turned green. Then she gave me a scuz as she drove by.  Isn't it funny how the birth of our Savior brings out the impatience and nastiness in some people?

I didn't want to go, but the craft store is right next to the doctor's office and I really needed some supplies.  The Bird wouldn't sit down in the cart. Frankie started crying.  The line snaked to the back of the store.  

I just wanted to curl up and die right there next to the yarn isle when I heard a voice.  "You need to change places with me."  She was loud.  She got everyone's attention.  Was she talking to me? "You need to come up here and trade me places."  She was talking to me.

"Oh that's okay. Ha ha." I said because that's what I do, and quite frankly everyone was watching and I was embarrassed.

"No. You need to come up here. Everyone, I'm trading her places."  She came back to me. She was small and old and delightfully spry. She had on a pink leisure suit.  She touched Frankie's fuzz head. "Honey, I've been in your shoes. Go check out."

And that is how I was rocketed to the front of the impossibly long line on a Tuesday afternoon in Michael's craft store. That is how a little Christmas spirit was rubbed off onto me.

It is my first Christmas gift of the season. I plan to pass it on.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tidings on this december morn

(Written on November 30th at 8pm.)

It's the most wonderful time of the day. The children are nestled all snug in their beds.  The halls are decked.  The laundry is done. Peace on Earth.

I went to the grocery store earlier today. There were five different kinds of eggnog. I don't actually know anyone who likes eggnog.  Who is buying all this eggnog?  These are the things that I think about.

The halls are decked, but the mantle isn't quite finished. Big project this year folks. Ha! I say "this year" like all the other years have been simple.  Sometimes I'm really in denial about my extreme craftiness obsessiveness. E.C.O. It should be added to Wikipedia. You might have it too.

If you have ever fallen asleep and woken up with one side of your face glittered, you may have E.C.O..

And another thing: If loving Pink is wrong, then I don't wanna be right. She makes my head bob and my legs bounce. She makes me want to go running. And that, my friends, is just what I need these days.

Happy December friends! Come back. It's gunna be a good month.

Monday, November 29, 2010

as we are

We took a bunch of photos last Saturday. I thought maybe we'd be able to get one to use for our Christmas cards.

There wasn't one single photo where everyone is looking at the camera smiling.

But this photo here. Well, it is probably the one I should send. It captures us as we really are. Fuzz head Frankie is happy, doing just what he is supposed to be doing for all his eight months of life.  Birdie is throwing a temper tantrum. The boy is off in Never Neverland. I have plastered on a fake smile, but the strain shows through my eyes and the grit of my teeth. And the Sugar Daddy. Well, he's rolling with the punches, a little less bothered by the chaos. Trying to keep us all happy.

We're a rag tag bunch of hooligans.

This is us as we are today. Tomorrow might bring big changes. I like to say: you never know what's around the corner. My children could turn into perfect angels.

It could happen.

Please say it could happen.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

turkey with the rooster

This is how it works:

Every other year my family gets together for Thanksgiving.  We rotate hosting between the siblings. So six years ago we went to Oregon to Heidi's house. Two years later, I hosted at my house. In 2008 we all went to Hawaii because that 's what Amy wanted to do on her year and please, Hawaii? We say yes to that.

This year is The Rooster's year.

The Rooster is a bachelor. Not a Nate Burkus variety bachelor. He's a bachelor, bachelor.  He made food assignments on Tuesday night.  He bought disposable plates.

Two weeks ago my mother called him up to urge him to start planning.  She asked coyly if he had thought about where he might want to set up tables.  He told her he thought we'd have Thanksgiving dinner in his garage.

This information was meet with silence. Finally my brother said, "You think I'm going to make Thanksgiving shitty aren't you?"

My mom replied, "Well... yes."

The reality is that for us girls, a large part of Thanksgiving is in the table setting and the perfect ruffled pie crust.  We spend hours making place cards and centerpieces.  It's tradition that has been passed down for generations of Campbell women.

But I'm going to admit something here.  And this is a big gesture on my part. The Rooster's Thanksgiving has been a nice change of pace.

If you strip away all the ornamentation and fancy food, you are left with one thing. Family.

And like most people, that's what I'm most thankful for this Thanksgiving.

And every day of my life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the dealer

The children love being at Grandma's house. Everyone one is so cheerful.  I've wondered if the spirit of Thanksgiving has seeped it's way into their hearts. But I thinks it's more likely attributed to the candy that Grandma is slipping them on the sly when she thinks I can't see.

She should know that I can sniff out chocolate like a blood hound.  It's a gift I have.  And chocolate on my babies breath? Well, that's never going to go undetected.

It is curious to me that this woman, who raised me with strict household rules and regulations, has all of a sudden joined the kid's team and is trying to put one past me all the time.

When did she start running a covert candy operation anyway? I've decided that since everyone seems very happy about the situation except for me, I will let it slide. In the spirit of holiday benevolence, I will turn a blind eye to this bad behavior for now.

Eat up me hearties! Because when Grandma your dealer is gone, so is your supply.

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have  a common enemy. - Sam Levenson

Monday, November 22, 2010

over the river and through hell

photo by doe-c-doe

Well, we went over the river and through hell and we arrived at Grandmas's house in a snow storm.

It feels so very holidayish here in Utah.  There is snow softly coating the boughs of each pine tree.  It is trimming the fences and topping the mailboxes.  Bright yellow leafs poke out here and there. It's really quite a sight to see.

We had a pie preview night last night. It's a Campbell tradition. One that I highly recommend.  A person can't truly enjoy all that pie has to offer if they are already stuffed with turkey.

All the extended family gathered together at my Aunt Carol's.  We sat around, sampled pie, got caught up on each other's lives and watched all the babies play on the floor.

As hard as it is too travel with my kids, I know this is the good stuff. The stuff they will remember.

My mother did it for me. I will do it for them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

talk a lot, peck a little more

Amy's first egg

Both my sisters have chickens.  I'm generally not a very jealous person but those chickens really bring it out in me.  I would love to have chickens but I live in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association and some real persnickety people that would tattle on me for sure if I had chickens pecking around in my backyard. That, and I really don't want the responsibility of feeding one more living thing.

But someday. Someday I will have a cute little troop, or I should say, brood of  hens to lay me brown eggs for breakfast. I will have a darling hen house painted robin egg blue. And I will go out each morning with a basket to collect the eggs.

My older sister, Heidi, has yet to get an egg out of her chickens.  Her first four chickens were sent back to the farm from wence they came to become Sunday dinner because they didn't lay. Her second batch have yet to prove themselves. Pray for them my friends. Their names are Henrietta and Penny.

Last spring my little sister Amy got four Rhode Island Red laying hens. She named them Mae, Murdle, Marge and Helen.  This left me the only sister without chickens. Chickenless. And green with envy.

Yesterday she got her first egg. That's it up there in the photo. She's very proud of it.

And this is her daughter Charley. Charley loves the chickens and helps care for them. I think Amy's pretty proud of her too.

photo by chelsea

If I can't have chickens, then by damn, I'm gonna taunt my sisters with thoughts of what might happen to theirs should they be less than vigilant.

Childish? I guess there are some things you never grow out of.

"The Opportunist" by Secondsister